WCS 3-Sentence Science

May 9, 2019

Photo credit: WCS Colombia Program

Each year, Wildlife Conservation Society scientists publish more than 300 peer-reviewed studies and papers. “WCS 3-Sentence Science” is a regular tip-sheet — in bite sized helpings — of some of this published work.

Here we present the work of the WCS Colombia’s Natalia Gallego-García and Germán Forero-Medina on the effects of habitat loss on gene flow in a rare turtle species:

  1. Scientists looked at how fragmentation is affecting critically endangered Dahl’s toad headed turtle (Mesoclemmys dahli) a forest-stream specialist found only in Colombia.
  2. They found that habitat loss and modification is restricting gene flow, causing the fragmentation of the species into at least six populations, some of which are suffering from genetic erosion, isolation, small effective population sizes, and inbreeding.
  3. The scientists recommend gene flow restoration via genetic rescue to counteract these threats, and provide guidance for this strategy.

Study and Journal: “Landscape genomic signatures indicate reduced gene flow and forest-associated adaptive divergence in an endangered neotropical turtle” from Molecular Ecology
WCS Co-Author(s): Natalia Gallego-García (Lead) , WCS Colombia Program ; Germán Forero-Medina , WCS Colombia Program

For more information, contact: Stephen Sautner, 718–220–3682, ssautner@wcs.org.

WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature.