MSc Candidate, National University of Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica
Research: Genetic structure and variability of the scarlet macaw (Ara macao) populations in Costa Rica
Species/Topic: Scarlet macaw (Ara macao)
Abstract: In Costa Rica, after typically inhabiting the lowlands of the entire country, the Scarlet Macaw Ara macao has been reduced, as a consequence of habitat fragmentation, to two major geographically isolated populations and a couple of small-sized populations; more so, a few reintroduced populations exist and several released individuals have established small populations in certain places. Nest poaching is common throughout the whole range. This project aims to investigate the possible effect of these threats to the genetic status of the Scarlet Macaw in Costa Rica. Genetic analyses will be carried out within as well as between populations and will include calculation of allelic frequencies, genetic distance and variability, and Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, as well as inferring phylogenies for the populations. The results are expected to aid in the development of conservation measures that may be useful for preserving the genetic integrity of the Scarlet Macaw populations of Costa Rica.