Presentation Title

Urban coyotes differ genetically from coyotes in natural habitats

Presentation Type

Poster

Keywords

Urban Ecology Coyote Population Genetics Biology Evolution Natal Habitat Biased Dispersal Microsatellite

Department

Biology

Major

Biology

Abstract

The Los Angeles metropolitan area consists of highly urban, suburban, rural, and undeveloped mountainous habitats. Coyotes (Canis latrans) are found in each of these very different habitat types, making them an exemplary model organism to investigate the effects of urbanization on animals in this fragmented landscape. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether urban coyotes differ genetically from coyotes in less developed habitats. We hypothesized that due to natal habitat biased dispersal, coyotes living in natural habitats will be more genetically related to other coyotes in similar natural habitats and less related to coyotes living in more urban habitats, despite geographic distance. We analyzed 10 microsatellite genetic markers from 126 individual coyotes and combined the genetic data with detailed land cover data. Our results reveal that coyotes in the Los Angeles metropolitan area cluster into four significantly different genetic populations. Three populations are associated with primarily urbanized habitats in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. In contrast, the remaining population is associated with more naturally vegetated land near the Santa Monica Mountains, Santa Susana Mountains, Santa Ana Mountains, and Simi Hills. Coyotes living in natural areas are genetically similar despite long geographic distances separating them. In a very short amount of time, urbanization has already affected the microevolution of coyotes, a species typically thought to be relatively insensitive to human disturbance.

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Javier Monzon

Funding Source or Research Program

Academic Year Undergraduate Research Initiative, Summer Undergraduate Research in Biology, Undergraduate Research Fellowship

Location

Waves Cafeteria

Start Date

29-3-2019 2:00 PM

End Date

29-3-2019 3:00 PM

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Mar 29th, 2:00 PM Mar 29th, 3:00 PM

Urban coyotes differ genetically from coyotes in natural habitats

Waves Cafeteria

The Los Angeles metropolitan area consists of highly urban, suburban, rural, and undeveloped mountainous habitats. Coyotes (Canis latrans) are found in each of these very different habitat types, making them an exemplary model organism to investigate the effects of urbanization on animals in this fragmented landscape. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether urban coyotes differ genetically from coyotes in less developed habitats. We hypothesized that due to natal habitat biased dispersal, coyotes living in natural habitats will be more genetically related to other coyotes in similar natural habitats and less related to coyotes living in more urban habitats, despite geographic distance. We analyzed 10 microsatellite genetic markers from 126 individual coyotes and combined the genetic data with detailed land cover data. Our results reveal that coyotes in the Los Angeles metropolitan area cluster into four significantly different genetic populations. Three populations are associated with primarily urbanized habitats in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. In contrast, the remaining population is associated with more naturally vegetated land near the Santa Monica Mountains, Santa Susana Mountains, Santa Ana Mountains, and Simi Hills. Coyotes living in natural areas are genetically similar despite long geographic distances separating them. In a very short amount of time, urbanization has already affected the microevolution of coyotes, a species typically thought to be relatively insensitive to human disturbance.