Data from: Relatedness and demography of African forest elephants: inferences from noninvasive fecal DNA analyses
Cite this dataset
Munshi-South, Jason (2011). Data from: Relatedness and demography of African forest elephants: inferences from noninvasive fecal DNA analyses [Dataset]. Dryad. https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.8991
African forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) are genetically and morphologically distinct from their savannah counterparts, but their biology remains poorly understood. In this study, I use noninvasive fecal DNA analyses to examine the relatedness structure and historical demography of forest elephants at two sites in SW Gabon, central Africa. Pairwise relatedness values calculated between 162 elephant individuals genotyped at eight microsatellite loci were significantly higher within spatially associated dung piles than between random pairings for one site. First- and second-order relatives were most commonly detected among dung piles from adult female pairs and adult females and juveniles. Pairwise relatedness estimates suggested that, like savannah elephants, forest groups are largely composed of adult females, their sisters, and juvenile offspring. Associations between males, and groups containing juveniles from multiple related females, were detected but at much lower frequency. Analysis of mitochondrial d-loop sequences from 70 elephant individuals identified two haplogroups in SW Gabon.
Gamba Complex of Protected Areas