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When habitat becomes fragmented, populations of species may become increasingly isolated. Deforestation of the Cerrado biome of Brazil, particularly of the dry forests within the Parana River Basin, has incrementally occurred since the 1970s and increased forest fragmentation within the region. Landscape genetic analyses were performed on the Pfrimer’s parakeet, a globally endangered endemic to the region, to determine if forest fragmentation patterns were associated with genetic structuring in this species. Behavioral data quantifying the affinity of Pfrimer’s parakeet for forest habitat was used to parameterize empirically derived landscape conductance surfaces. Though genetic structure was observed among Pfrimer’s parakeet populations, no association between genetic and geographic distance was detected. It is expected that genetic structure will increase substantially among Pfrimer’s Parakeet populations in the future, especially if fragmentation continues at its current pace.
Did you know? No one has ever found a breeding site or nest for this species. Ph.D. student Carlos Bianchi had to search for Prfimer's Parakeet partially via hiking through extensive caves systems with class 4 and 5 rapids in them.
Bianchi, C.A., and S.M. Haig. 2013. Deforestation trends in tropical dry forests in Central Brazil. Biotropica 45: 395-400.
Miller, M.P. C.A. Bianchi, T.D.Mullins and S.M. Haig. 2013. Associations between forest fragmentation patterns and genetic structure in Pfrimer's Parakeet (Pyrrhura pfrimeri), an endangered endemic to central Brazil's dry forests. Conservation Genetics 14: 333-343.