1Anthropology, Florida Atlantic University, 2Anthropology, Kent State University, 3TL2 Project, Lukuru Wildlife Research Foundation
March 28, 2015 , Gateway Ballroom 2/3/4/5
Cercopithecus mitis is a complex, polytypic guenon species that has a wide distribution throughout Africa. The C. mitis radiation has significant phenotypic and ecological diversity, making it a great candidate for evolutionary genetic studies. This study represents the first genetic survey of C. mitis from multiple well provenanced wild populations. Between 2008 and 2010, opportunistic tissue samples were collected from blue monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis) within the Lomami National Park in Central Africa’s Congo Basin rainforest. DNA was extracted from the samples of 5 male individuals and surveyed at 900 bp of the gene for the Testis-Specific Protein, Y-chromosome (TSPY). These sequences were added to a larger TSPY dataset including C. mitis and C. albogularis specimens collected from multiple forest sites in Central and East Africa. Evolutionary analyses of the total TSPY dataset revealed two distinct Y-chromosomal lineages. One group clustered all C. mitis individuals from northeast of the Congo River. The 5 C. mitis individuals from the proposed Lomami National Park, however, clustered with C. albogularis. This Y-chromosomal pattern suggests that “Lomami” C. mitis may have shared more recent genetic contact with their C. albogularis neighbors at the headwaters of the Congo River than with conspecifics further to the northeast. If this inference is correct, it suggests that the Congo River is a significant biogeographic barrier to C. mitis and, further, opens speculation regarding the genetic heritage – and therefore proper taxonomic assignment and conservation status – of C. mitis in the Lomami National Park.