Publications

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detection of trypanosoma brucei in field-captured tsetse flies and identification of host species fed on by the infected flies.the prevalence of trypanosome infections in tsetse flies in the chiawa area of lower zambezi in zambia, with endemic trypanosomosis, was determined by a polymerase chain reaction (pcr) method that allowed the detection of trypanosome dna and determination of the type of animal host fed on by the tsetse fly glossina pallidipes, using tsetse-derived dna extracts as templates. ninety g. pallidipes (82 females and 8 males; 18.3%) of the 492 flies captured by baited biconical traps tested positive fo ...200818399780
low coverage sequencing of two asian elephant (elephas maximus) genomes.there are three species of elephant that exist, the asian elephant (elephas maximus) and two species of african elephant (loxodonta africana and loxodonta cyclotis). the populations of all three species are dwindling, and are under threat due to factors, such as habitat destruction and ivory hunting. the species differ in many respects, including in their morphology and response to disease. the availability of elephant genome sequence data from all three elephant species will complement studies ...201425053995
elephant natural history: a genomic perspective.we review dna-based studies of elephants and recently extinct proboscideans. the evidence indicates that little or no nuclear gene flow occurs between african savanna elephants (loxodonta africana) and african forest elephants (loxodonta cyclotis), establishing that they comprise separate species. in all elephant species, males disperse, whereas females remain with their natal social group, leading to discordance in the phylogeography of nuclear and mitochondrial dna patterns. improvements in an ...201525493538
development and characterization of microsatellite markers in the african forest elephant (loxodonta cyclotis).african elephants comprise two species, the savanna elephant (loxodonta africana) and the forest elephant (l. cyclotis), which are distinct morphologically and genetically. forest elephants are seriously threatened by poaching for meat and ivory, and by habitat destruction. however, microsatellite markers have thus far been developed only in african savanna elephants and asian elephants, elephas maximus. the application of microsatellite markers across deeply divergent lineages may produce irreg ...201627456228
ivory species identification using electrophoresis-based techniques.despite continuous conservation efforts by national and international organizations, the populations of the three extant elephant species are still dramatically declining due to the illegal trade in ivory leading to the killing of elephants. a requirement to aid investigations and prosecutions is the accurate identification of the elephant species from which the ivory was removed. we report on the development of the first fully validated multiplex pcr-electrophoresis assay for ivory dna analysis ...201627754560
distribution of a community of mammals in relation to roads and other human disturbances in gabon, central africa.we present the first community-level study of the associations of both roads and other human disturbances with the distribution of mammals in gabon (central africa). our study site was in an oil concession within a littoral mosaic landscape. we conducted surveys along 199 line transects and installed camera traps on 99 of these transects to document mammal presence and abundance. we used generalized linear mixed-effect models to document associations between variables related to the ecosystem (l ...201323410077
genomic dna sequences from mastodon and woolly mammoth reveal deep speciation of forest and savanna elephants.to elucidate the history of living and extinct elephantids, we generated 39,763 bp of aligned nuclear dna sequence across 375 loci for african savanna elephant, african forest elephant, asian elephant, the extinct american mastodon, and the woolly mammoth. our data establish that the asian elephant is the closest living relative of the extinct mammoth in the nuclear genome, extending previous findings from mitochondrial dna analyses. we also find that savanna and forest elephants, which some hav ...201021203580
molecular phylogenetics of the elephant schistosome bivitellobilharzia loxodontae (trematoda: schistosomatidae) from the central african republic.one of the most poorly known of all schistosomes infecting mammals is bivitellobilharzia loxodontae. nearly all of our available information about this species comes from the original description of worms that were obtained from an animal park-maintained elephant in germany, probably a forest elephant loxodonta cyclotis, originating from the present-day democratic republic of congo. we obtained schistosome eggs from faecal samples from wild forest elephants from the central african republic. the ...201322339846
genetic variation at hair length candidate genes in elephants and the extinct woolly mammoth.like humans, the living elephants are unusual among mammals in being sparsely covered with hair. relative to extant elephants, the extinct woolly mammoth, mammuthus primigenius, had a dense hair cover and extremely long hair, which likely were adaptations to its subarctic habitat. the fibroblast growth factor 5 (fgf5) gene affects hair length in a diverse set of mammalian species. mutations in fgf5 lead to recessive long hair phenotypes in mice, dogs, and cats; and the gene has been implicated i ...200919747392
transvalued species in an african forest.we combined ethnographic investigations with repeated ecological transect surveys in the dzanga-sangha dense forest reserve (rds), central african republic, to elucidate consequences of intensifying mixed use of forests. we devised a framework for transvaluation of wildlife species, which means the valuing of species on the basis of their ecological, economic, and symbolic roles in human lives. we measured responses to hunting, tourism, and conservation of two transvalued species in rds: elephan ...200919604297
ivory identification by dna profiling of cytochrome b gene.ivory can be visually identified in its native form as coming from an elephant species; however, determining from which of the three extant elephant species a section of ivory originates is more problematic. we report on a method that will identify and distinguish the protected and endangered elephant species, elephas maximus or loxodonta sp. to identify the species of elephant from ivory products, we developed three groups of nested pcr amplifications within the cytochrome b gene that generate ...200918612647
forest elephant mitochondrial genomes reveal that elephantid diversification in africa tracked climate transitions.among elephants, the phylogeographic patterns of mitochondrial (mt) and nuclear markers are often incongruent. one hypothesis attributes this to sex differences in dispersal and in the variance of reproductive success. we tested this hypothesis by examining the coalescent dates of genetic markers within elephantid lineages, predicting that lower dispersal and lower variance in reproductive success among females would have increased mtdna relative to nuclear coalescent dates. we sequenced the mit ...201222260276
qualitative comparison of the cranio-dental osteology of the extant elephants, elephas maximus (asian elephant) and loxodonta africana (african elephant).few osteological descriptions of the extant elephants and no detailed morphological comparison of the two genera, elephas and loxodonta, have been done in recent years. in this study, 786 specimens of extant elephants (crania, mandibles, and molars) were examined for characters unique to each species. differences between sexes in each species were described, as well as differences between subspecies of each species. striking differences in morphology were noted between sexes of both elephants an ...201019937635
estimating population sizes for elusive animals: the forest elephants of kakum national park, ghana.african forest elephants are difficult to observe in the dense vegetation, and previous studies have relied upon indirect methods to estimate population sizes. using multilocus genotyping of noninvasively collected samples, we performed a genetic survey of the forest elephant population at kakum national park, ghana. we estimated population size, sex ratio and genetic variability from our data, then combined this information with field observations to divide the population into age groups. our p ...200312755869
fine-scale genetic structure and cryptic associations reveal evidence of kin-based sociality in the african forest elephant.spatial patterns of relatedness within animal populations are important in the evolution of mating and social systems, and have the potential to reveal information on species that are difficult to observe in the wild. this study examines the fine-scale genetic structure and connectivity of groups within african forest elephants, loxodonta cyclotis, which are often difficult to observe due to forest habitat. we tested the hypothesis that genetic similarity will decline with increasing geographic ...201424505381
the spatial structure of hunter access determines the local abundance of forest elephants (loxodonta africana cyclotis).in many previously remote regions in the world, increasing and often unregulated access is leading to dramatic increases in hunting pressure and declines in the densities of prey species, sometimes to the point of local extinction. not surprisingly, numerous studies have found a correlation between the distance to the closest access point and prey densities. here we hypothesized that, for many wide-ranging species, local abundances are reduced by hunting associated with multiple access points as ...201121774431
use of acoustic tools to reveal otherwise cryptic responses of forest elephants to oil exploration.most evaluations of the effects of human activities on wild animals have focused on estimating changes in abundance and distribution of threatened species; however, ecosystem disturbances also affect aspects of animal behavior such as short-term movement, activity budgets, and reproduction. it may take a long time for changes in behavior to manifest as changes in abundance or distribution. therefore, it is important to have methods with which to detect short-term behavioral responses to human ac ...201020666800
reconciling apparent conflicts between mitochondrial and nuclear phylogenies in african elephants.conservation strategies for african elephants would be advanced by resolution of conflicting claims that they comprise one, two, three or four taxonomic groups, and by development of genetic markers that establish more incisively the provenance of confiscated ivory. we addressed these related issues by genotyping 555 elephants from across africa with microsatellite markers, developing a method to identify those loci most effective at geographic assignment of elephants (or their ivory), and condu ...201121701575
roadless wilderness area determines forest elephant movements in the congo basin.a dramatic expansion of road building is underway in the congo basin fuelled by private enterprise, international aid, and government aspirations. among the great wilderness areas on earth, the congo basin is outstanding for its high biodiversity, particularly mobile megafauna including forest elephants (loxodonta africana cyclotis). the abundance of many mammal species in the basin increases with distance from roads due to hunting pressure, but the impacts of road proliferation on the movements ...200818958284
using genetic profiles of african forest elephants to infer population structure, movements, and habitat use in a conservation and development landscape in gabon.conservation of wide-ranging species, such as the african forest elephant (loxodonta cyclotis), depends on fully protected areas and multiple-use areas (mua) that provide habitat connectivity. in the gamba complex of protected areas in gabon, which includes 2 national parks separated by a mua containing energy and forestry concessions, we studied forest elephants to evaluate the importance of the mua to wide-ranging species. we extracted dna from elephant dung samples and used genetic informatio ...201424471781
long-term monitoring of dzanga bai forest elephants: forest clearing use patterns.individual identification of the relatively cryptic forest elephant (loxodonta cyclotis) at forest clearings currently provides the highest quality monitoring data on this ecologically important but increasingly threatened species. here we present baseline data from the first 20 years of an individually based study of this species, conducted at the dzanga clearing, central african republic. a total of 3,128 elephants were identified over the 20-year study (1,244 adults; 675 females, 569 males). ...201324386460
the consequences of poaching and anthropogenic change for forest elephants.poaching has devastated forest elephant populations (loxodonta cyclotis), and their habitat is dramatically changing. the long-term effects of poaching and other anthropogenic threats have been well studied in savannah elephants (loxodonta africana), but the impacts of these changes for central africa's forest elephants have not been discussed. we examined potential repercussions of these threats and the related consequences for forest elephants in central africa by summarizing the lessons learn ...201626801000
host specificity and basic ecology of mammomonogamus (nematoda, syngamidae) from lowland gorillas and forest elephants in central african republic.syngamid strongylids of the genus mammomonogamus undoubtedly belong among the least known nematodes with apparent zoonotic potential and the real diversity of the genus remains hard to evaluate without extensive molecular data. eggs of mammomonogamus sp. are frequently found in feces of african forest elephants (loxodonta cyclotis) and western lowland gorillas (gorilla gorilla gorilla) in dzanga-sangha protected areas. using sedimentation-based coproscopic techniques, we found the eggs of mammom ...201728274296
assigning african elephant dna to geographic region of origin: applications to the ivory trade.resurgence of illicit trade in african elephant ivory is placing the elephant at renewed risk. regulation of this trade could be vastly improved by the ability to verify the geographic origin of tusks. we address this need by developing a combined genetic and statistical method to determine the origin of poached ivory. our statistical approach exploits a smoothing method to estimate geographic-specific allele frequencies over the entire african elephants' range for 16 microsatellite loci, using ...200415459317
the evolution and phylogeography of the african elephant inferred from mitochondrial dna sequence and nuclear microsatellite markers.recent genetic results support the recognition of two african elephant species: loxodonta africana, the savannah elephant, and loxodonta cyclotis, the forest elephant. the study, however, did not include the populations of west africa, where the taxonomic affinities of elephants have been much debated. we examined mitochondrial cytochrome b control region sequences and four microsatellite loci to investigate the genetic differences between the forest and savannah elephants of west and central af ...200212396498
genetic evidence for two species of elephant in africa.elephants from the tropical forests of africa are morphologically distinct from savannah or bush elephants. dart-biopsy samples from 195 free-ranging african elephants in 21 populations were examined for dna sequence variation in four nuclear genes (1732 base pairs). phylogenetic distinctions between african forest elephant and savannah elephant populations corresponded to 58% of the difference in the same genes between elephant genera loxodonta (african) and elephas (asian). large genetic dista ...200111520983
devastating decline of forest elephants in central africa.african forest elephants- taxonomically and functionally unique-are being poached at accelerating rates, but we lack range-wide information on the repercussions. analysis of the largest survey dataset ever assembled for forest elephants (80 foot-surveys; covering 13,000 km; 91,600 person-days of fieldwork) revealed that population size declined by ca. 62% between 2002-2011, and the taxon lost 30% of its geographical range. the population is now less than 10% of its potential size, occupying less ...201323469289
blood characteristics of the african elephant (loxodonta africana cyclotis).mean corpuscular volume, hematocrit, hemoglobin concentration and red and white cell counts from five domesticated african elephants were measured. the results obtained are tabulated and compared with those from shot and chemically immobilized african elephants.1979459036
a comprehensive genomic history of extinct and living elephants.elephantids are the world's most iconic megafaunal family, yet there is no comprehensive genomic assessment of their relationships. we report a total of 14 genomes, including 2 from the american mastodon, which is an extinct elephantid relative, and 12 spanning all three extant and three extinct elephantid species including an ∼120,000-y-old straight-tusked elephant, a columbian mammoth, and woolly mammoths. earlier genetic studies modeled elephantid evolution via simple bifurcating trees, but h ...201829483247
diversity of mammomonogamus (nematoda: syngamidae) in large african herbivores.four species of mammomonogamus are known from large african herbivores. a recent study demonstrated that a single mammomonogamus species was shared by both western lowland gorillas (gorilla gorilla gorilla) and african forest elephants (loxodonta cyclotis) in central african republic, suggesting lower species diversity than previously described in literature. we examined more than 500 fecal samples collected from sympatric african forest elephants, western lowland gorillas, and african forest bu ...201829470712
single-nucleotide polymorphism discovery and panel characterization in the african forest elephant.the continuing decline in forest elephant (loxodonta cyclotis) numbers due to poaching and habitat reduction is driving the search for new tools to inform management and conservation. for dense rainforest species, basic ecological data on populations and threats can be challenging and expensive to collect, impeding conservation action in the field. as such, genetic monitoring is being increasingly implemented to complement or replace more burdensome field techniques. single-nucleotide polymorphi ...201829468037
demography of a forest elephant population.african forest elephants face severe threats from illegal killing for ivory and bushmeat and habitat conversion. due to their cryptic nature and inaccessible range, little information on the biology of this species has been collected despite its iconic status. compiling individual based monitoring data collected over 20 years from the dzanga bai population in central african republic, we summarize sex and age specific survivorship and female age specific fecundity for a cohort of 1625 individual ...201829447207
identifying source populations and genetic structure for savannah elephants in human-dominated landscapes and protected areas in the kenya-tanzania borderlands.we investigated the genetic metapopulation structure of elephants across the trans rift valley region of kenya and tanzania, one of the remaining strongholds for savannah elephants (loxodonata africana) in east africa, using microsatellite and mitochondrial dna (mtdna) markers. we then examined this population structure to determine the source population for a recent colonization event of savannah elephants on community-owned land within the trans rift valley region. four of the five sampled pop ...201223300634
ecological consequences of forest elephant declines for afrotropical forests.poaching is rapidly extirpating african forest elephants (loxodonta cyclotis) from most of their historical range, leaving vast areas of elephant-free tropical forest. elephants are ecological engineers that create and maintain forest habitat; thus, their loss will have large consequences for the composition and structure of afrotropical forests. through a comprehensive literature review, we evaluated the roles of forest elephants in seed dispersal, nutrient recycling, and herbivory and physical ...201729076179
relatedness and demography of african forest elephants: inferences from noninvasive fecal dna analyses.african forest elephants (loxodonta cyclotis) are genetically and morphologically distinct from their savannah counterparts, but their biology remains poorly understood. in this study, i use noninvasive fecal dna analyses to examine the relatedness structure and historical demography of forest elephants at 2 sites in sw gabon, central africa. pairwise relatedness values calculated between 162 elephant individuals genotyped at 8 microsatellite loci were significantly higher within spatially assoc ...201121576286
automated detection of low-frequency rumbles of forest elephants: a critical tool for their conservation.african forest elephants (loxodonta cyclotis) occupy large ranges in dense tropical forests and often use far-reaching vocal signals to coordinate social behavior. elephant populations in central africa are in crisis, having declined by more than 60% in the last decade. methods currently used to monitor these populations are expensive and time-intensive, though acoustic monitoring technology may offer an effective alternative if signals of interest can be efficiently extracted from the sound str ...201728464628
antipoaching standards in onshore hydrocarbon concessions drawn from a central african case study.unsustainable hunting outside protected areas is threatening tropical biodiversity worldwide and requires conservationists to engage increasingly in antipoaching activities. following the example of ecocertified logging companies, we argue that other extractive industries managing large concessions should engage in antipoaching activities as part of their environmental management plans. onshore hydrocarbon concessions should also adopt antipoaching protocols as a standard because they represent ...201727730677
threat to african forest elephants. 201627582187
hypothesis-driven and field-validated method to prioritize fragmentation mitigation efforts in road projects.the active field of connectivity conservation has provided numerous methods to identify wildlife corridors with the aim of reducing the ecological effect of fragmentation. nevertheless, these methods often rely on untested hypotheses of animal movements, usually fail to generate fine-scale predictions of road crossing sites, and do not allow managers to prioritize crossing sites for implementing road fragmentation mitigation measures. we propose a new method that addresses these limitations. we ...201526591467
illegal killing for ivory drives global decline in african elephants.illegal wildlife trade has reached alarming levels globally, extirpating populations of commercially valuable species. as a driver of biodiversity loss, quantifying illegal harvest is essential for conservation and sociopolitical affairs but notoriously difficult. here we combine field-based carcass monitoring with fine-scale demographic data from an intensively studied wild african elephant population in samburu, kenya, to partition mortality into natural and illegal causes. we then expand our ...201425136107
complex phylogeographic history of central african forest elephants and its implications for taxonomy.previous phylogenetic analyses of african elephants have included limited numbers of forest elephant samples. a large-scale assessment of mitochondrial dna diversity in forest elephant populations here reveals a more complex evolutionary history in african elephants as a whole than two-taxon models assume.200718093290
surgical repair of tusk injury (pulpectomy) in an adult, male forest elephant (loxodonta cyclotis).a 15-year-old male forest elephant housed in a zoo sustained a fracture of the right tusk that was 10 cm inside the cheek pouch, thus exposing the tusk canal. treatment of the cavity by packing, topical application of antibiotics, and administration of various antiseptic preparations failed; however, the tusk grew. to treat the infected, growing tusks's root canal or pulp, surgery--comparable to a pulpectomy in man--was performed with successful results.19761065695
one size does not fit all: flexible models are required to understand animal movement across scales.1. large data sets containing precise movement data from free-roaming animals are now becoming commonplace. one means of analysing individual movement data is through discrete, random walk-based models. 2. random walk models are easily modified to incorporate common features of animal movement, and the ways that these modifications affect the scaling of net displacement are well studied. recently, ecologists have begun to explore more complex statistical models with multiple latent states, each ...201121521216
the identification of elephant ivory evidences of illegal trade with mitochondrial cytochrome b gene and hypervariable d-loop region.dna analysis of elephant ivory of illegal trade was handled in this work. the speciation and geographical origin of nine specimens of elephant ivory were requested by the police. without national authorization, the suspect had purchased processed ivory seals from january to may, 2011 by internet transactions from a site in a neighboring country. the dna of decalcified ivory evidences was isolated with qiagen micro kit. the total 844-904 base pair sized sequences of mitochondrial cytochrome b and ...201223472798
palaeogenomes of eurasian straight-tusked elephants challenge the current view of elephant evolution.the straight-tusked elephantspalaeoloxodonspp. were widespread across eurasia during the pleistocene. phylogenetic reconstructions using morphological traits have grouped them with asian elephants (elephas maximus), and many paleontologists placepalaeoloxodonwithinelephas. here, we report the recovery of full mitochondrial genomes from four and partial nuclear genomes from twop. antiquusfossils. these fossils were collected at two sites in germany, neumark-nord and weimar-ehringsdorf, and likely ...201728585920
how bees deter elephants: beehive trials with forest elephants (loxodonta africana cyclotis) in gabon.in gabon, like elsewhere in africa, crops are often sources of conflict between humans and wildlife. wildlife damage to crops can drastically reduce income, amplifying poverty and creating a negative perception of wild animal conservation among rural people. in this context, crop-raiding animals like elephants quickly become "problem animals". to deter elephants from raiding crops beehives have been successfully employed in east africa; however, this method has not yet been tested in central afr ...201627196059
effective sociodemographic population assessment of elusive species in ecology and conservation management.wildlife managers are urgently searching for improved sociodemographic population assessment methods to evaluate the effectiveness of implemented conservation activities. these need to be inexpensive, appropriate for a wide spectrum of species and straightforward to apply by local staff members with minimal training. furthermore, conservation management would benefit from single approaches which cover many aspects of population assessment beyond only density estimates, to include for instance so ...201324101982
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