Ecological divergence of prairie dogs

Genetic and ecological differentiation in Gunnison’s prairie dogs

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently designated Gunnison’s prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni) as a species of concern in the montane portion of its range, due to low population connectivity and high plague susceptibility in  this part of the range. Historically, two behaviorally (Renner 2003) and morphologically (Hollister 1916) distinct subspecies were recognized (C.g. gunnisoni and C.g. zuniensis), but early genetic studies questioned their distinctiveness (McCullough 1991).  We performed a comprehensive analysis of microsatellite and mitochondrial variation throughout the range of the species, coupled with assessment of the ecological conditions occupied by each subspecies.  




More to come...