University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign
de Flamingh, Alida.
Conservation genetics of African elephants.
Degree: PhD, Ecol, Evol, Conservation Biol, 2020, University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign
Elephant population numbers are plummeting across the African continent. Habitat loss as a consequence of anthropogenic landscape transformation, and the poaching of elephants for the illegal ivory trade, has reduced and fragmented elephant populations to a fraction of their former population size and range. It has therefore become necessary to develop and implement proactive and targeted conservation initiatives that aim at maintaining or restoring spatial and genetic connectivity between populations. In this thesis, I use a conservation genetic approach to study African elephant populations with the aim of developing methodologies and providing applications that could inform conservation planning for African elephants.
In Chapter 1, I introduce and discuss the need for proactive African elephant conservation initiatives. In Chapter 2, I develop and evaluate an approach to delineate functional landscape linkages (FLL) for African elephant conservation planning, and I use this approach to create a fine-scale map that demarcates FLL for elephant populations in southern Africa. The results of Chapter 3 provide support for conservation initiatives that aim at increasing connectivity through FLL. In Chapter 3, I show that Kruger National Park’s elephant population forms part of a functional entity in which migration helped to maintain a relatively diverse gene pool. Chapter 4 benefits elephant conservation by increasing our understanding of historical elephant population ecology and genetics. Here I show that contemporary West African forest elephant populations have limited genetic diversity compared to the genetic diversity found in historical populations. Chapter 4 highlights the need for proactive and preventative conservation strategies that aim to conserve the genetic diversity within remaining forest elephant populations. In Chapter 5 I adapt a method previously developed for sex identification of human remains for use with non-human taxa, and I successfully identify the sex of modern and ancient elephants from low coverage genome data. Sex identification of ancient animal biological remains can benefit conservation by increasing our understanding of historical population structure, demography and social behavior.
In this thesis I develop and apply genetic and spatial analyses to extinct and extant elephant populations to inform local and regional African elephant conservation strategies. This thesis provides an interdisciplinary toolset and framework for future conservation genetic studies that focus on African elephant conservation planning.
Advisors/Committee Members: Roca, Alfred L (advisor), Roca, Alfred L (Committee Chair), Malhi, Ripan S (committee member), Schooley, Robert L (committee member), van Aarde, Rudi J (committee member).
Subjects/Keywords: conservation genetics; molecular ecology; conservation genomics; megafauna
to Zotero / EndNote / Reference
APA (6th Edition):
de Flamingh, A. (2020). Conservation genetics of African elephants. (Doctoral Dissertation). University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/2142/107911
Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):
de Flamingh, Alida. “Conservation genetics of African elephants.” 2020. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign. Accessed April 10, 2021.
MLA Handbook (7th Edition):
de Flamingh, Alida. “Conservation genetics of African elephants.” 2020. Web. 10 Apr 2021.
de Flamingh A. Conservation genetics of African elephants. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign; 2020. [cited 2021 Apr 10].
Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/107911.
Council of Science Editors:
de Flamingh A. Conservation genetics of African elephants. [Doctoral Dissertation]. University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign; 2020. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/107911