Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Arizona
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Arizona Project

The use of genetic analysis to detect migration in the southwest

July 2007 - March 2011


Participating Agencies

  • Cooperative Research Unit Program

The objectives are to use mitochondrial and nuclear microsatellite DNA markers to obtain information to assess the levels of gene flow and population structure of black bears and lesser long-nosed bats in Arizona and northern Mexico. Researchers want to describe patterns of molecular genetic variation within black bear populations among sky islands and resolve migratory corridors for the lesser long-nosed bat. At the same time they would like to provide research experience for minority students to pursue their own research questions. This project will employ undergraduates and graduate students. They will receive the training and tutoring in general scientific and research procedures to reach the study goals. The project will also have a coordinator that will organize the research projects and the student training growth. We propose to determine if gene flow occurs between Leptonycteris curasoae yerbabuenae (lesser long-nosed bat) southwestern and southeastern Arizona roosts, as well as throughout the migratory corridor between Mexico and the United States. We will use buccal swabs to obtain DNA from cheek cells to conduct genetic analysis to examine population subdivision. We will sample at La Capilla, Mulege and Isla Carmen, all sites located in Baja California Sur, Mexico. We will set a 6 m net and a 2.6 m net perpendicular to the roost exit for two days. We will also set nets at Chamela, and Jalisco, Mexico. In both occasions we will set a 12 m net above the roost entrance. We are in the process to developed 12 polymorphic microsatellites for the lesser long-nosed bat. The genetic analysis will determine population structure in the lesser long-nosed bat in the area. The results will provide guidance to a large group of Wildlife managers to protect the lesser long-nosed bat.