Population structure of the Lower Keys marsh rabbit as determined by mitochondrial DNA analysis
Authors: A. L. Crouse, R. L. Honeycutt, R. A McCleery, G. A. Faulhaber, N. D. Perry, R. R. Lopez
We used nucleotide sequence data from a mitochondrial DNA fragment to characterize variation within the endangered Lower Keys marsh rabbit (Sylvilagus palustris hefneri). We observed 5 unique mitochondrial haplotypes across different sampling sites in the Lower Florida Keys, USA. Based on the frequency of these haplotypes at different geographic locations and relationships among haplotypes, we observed 2 distinct clades or groups of sampling sites (western and eastern clades). These 2 groups showed low levels of gene flow. Regardless of their origin, marsh rabbits from the Lower Florida Keys can be separated into 2 genetically distinct management units, which should be considered prior to implementation of translocations as a means of offsetting recent population declines.
Crouse, A. L., R. L. Honeycutt, R. A McCleery, G. A. Faulhaber, N. D. Perry, and R. R. Lopez. 2009. Population structure of the Lower Keys marsh rabbit as determined by mitochondrial DNA analysis. Journal of Wildlife Management. 73:362-367.