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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 58(6)

Distribution and population genetic structure of the critically endangered skink Nangura spinosa, and the implications for management

Adrian C. Borsboom A D, Patrick J. Couper B, Andrew Amey B and Conrad J. Hoskin C

A Biodiversity and Ecosystem Sciences, Queensland Herbarium, Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Mt Coot-tha Road, Toowong, Qld 4066, Australia.
B Biodiversity, Queensland Museum, PO Box 3300, South Brisbane, Qld 4101, Australia.
C Research School of Biology, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia.
D Corresponding author. Email: adrian.borsboom@derm.qld.gov.au

Australian Journal of Zoology 58(6) 369-375 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/ZO10070
Submitted: 13 October 2010  Accepted: 22 December 2010   Published: 14 February 2011

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Many threatened species occur as small, isolated populations. Understanding the extent and genetic distinctiveness of these populations is essential for management. Nangura spinosa is a critically endangered skink known from two small populations in dry rainforest in south-east Queensland. We conducted targeted surveys between 2001 and 2010 at the two known N. spinosa sites (Nangur National Park, Oakview National Park area) and in 22 nearby forest blocks with potentially suitable habitat. N. spinosa was found only at the two previously known sites, which are ~36 km apart. The skink appears to be declining at Nangur NP, to an estimated extent of occurrence of 7.4 ha and potentially no more than 35 adults. In contrast, we increase the extent of occurrence at Oakview to 360 ha, where the population is at least in the hundreds. Sequencing of two mtDNA genes revealed considerable genetic divergence between the two populations (3.8% for ND4; 1.2% for 16S), suggesting an extended period of separation. Population fragmentation is therefore not the result of recent land clearing, but of long-term isolation by unsuitable habitat. Each population should be considered a distinct management unit. More data are required on population size and trends, recruitment and threats, particularly for the Nangur population.

Additional keywords:dry rainforest, phylogeography, surveys, threatened species.


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