By using a non-invasive genomic approach this project has the overall goal to identify the Western red colobus natural populations that are key to the conservation of both TRC and UGRC. By surveying unexplored areas and analysing samples already collected by a network of collaborators we will conduct a genomic survey on unstudied populations from The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Being in line with the priorities defined in the Red Colobus Action Plan (ReCAP), this study will produce outcomes that can directly inform on measures to improve Western red colobus conservation and identify the southern limit of Temmick’s red colobus and the northern limit of Upper Guinea red colobus, still under debate. Achieving this will incorporate the following aims: 1. Obtain red colobus fecal samples from different West African locations 2. Unravel the genetic structure, connectivity between locations and barriers to dispersal 3. Estimate genomic diversity and inbreeding levels for populations that are genetically differentiated 4. Estimate the effective population sizes (Ne) and unravel past changes in the Ne 5. Define Evolutionary & Managements Units 6. Understand the factors that shape genomic diversity to predict adaptability to changing environments.
Maria Ferreira da Silva (Cardiff University)