Mauro Nicolás Tammone
Location: Argentina, Uruguay
Research: Loss of genetic diversity in an endemic Ctenomys (Rodentia) from northwestern Patagonia: insights for conservation and evolution
Species/Topic: Ctenomys (Rodentia)
Abstract: Genetic diversity plays a major role in the perpetuity of species and populations. If new pressures occur (i.e. environmental change, disease), populations with low genetic diversity are thought to be at greater risk of extinction. The colonial tuco-tuco (Ctenomys sociabilis), a highly endemic species of Patagonian subterranean rodent that is currently listed as critically endangered by the IUCN, currently displays no genetic variability but sub-fossil specimens recovered from a Holocene owl deposit suggest considerably greater historical variability. This study tries to understand the causes and consequences of such genetic loss by examining sub-fossil bones at 3 excavated archaeological sites within the species' geographic range to relate the spatial and temporal dynamics of C. sociabilis to environmental changes occurred. Results will provide important information for conservation, in particular in the context of the predicted climate change.