ESR 26:179-188 (2014)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00626

Non-invasive sampling reveals fine-scale genetic structure in black bear Ursus americanus populations from northeastern Mexico

Fernando Montiel-Reyes1, Jesús E. Maldonado2,3, Melina Del Real-Monroy1, Norberto Martínez-Méndez4, Jorge Ortega1,*

1Laboratorio de Bioconservación y Manejo, Posgrado en Ciencias Quimicobiológicas, Departamento de Zoología, Escuela Nacional de Ciencias Biológicas, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Prolongación de Carpio y Plan de Ayala s/n, Col. Sto. Tomas, 11340, México, DF
2Center for Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, 3001 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008, USA
3Department of Vertebrate Zoology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, MRC 108, Washington, DC 20013, USA
4Laboratorio de Bioconservación y Manejo, Posgrado en Biociencias, Departamento de Zoología, Escuela Nacional de Ciencias Biológicas, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Prolongación de Carpio y Plan de Ayala s/n, Col. Sto. Tomas, 11340, México, DF
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The black bear Ursus americanus is one of the largest terrestrial carnivores that has a wide distribution in northeastern Mexico, the only country in which black bears are listed as endangered. We used 10 nuclear microsatellite loci to evaluate black bear genetic variability in 6 disjointed populations from northeastern Mexico. Non-invasive genetic techniques were applied to fecal and hair samples. Using a panel of 10 polymorphic microsatellites we identified 64 individuals. Black bears showed low to moderate levels of genetic diversity in all sampled populations (mean ± SD expected heterozygosity, He = 0.63 ± 0.628). Pairwise comparisons between all 6 populations (φST = 0.315, p < 0.05) detected significant genetic differentiation between the western Coahuila and the northeastern Nuevo León regions, suggesting that black bears have low levels of gene flow between these 2 regions. Microsatellites revealed significant structure within the complex of disjoint areas in the region. The inbreeding coefficient was also significant (φIS = 0.143). The largest proportion of genetic variation (82.7%) was found between individuals within populations. Distance and anthropogenic activities may serve to limit gene exchange among populations which form at least 3 distinct genetic clusters; these may respond differently to environmental changes and should be considered distinct management units.


KEY WORDS: Black bears · Genetic structure · Microsatellite · Non-invasive sampling · Mexico


Full text in pdf format  
Cite this article as: Montiel-Reyes F, Maldonado JE, del Real-Monroy M, Martínez-Méndez N, Ortega J (2014) Non-invasive sampling reveals fine-scale genetic structure in black bear Ursus americanus populations from northeastern Mexico. Endang Species Res 26:179-188. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00626

Export citation
Mail this link - Contents Mailing Lists - RSS
- -