Population genetics of rodent species in Sulawesi, Indonesia
Project: This project is self-fund only, but all samples are available already extracted to DNA (in our DNA archive). It will be run as a Master's degree project by research (approximately 9 months research and 3 months to write up, with up to 6 months after that to complete the write-up if required). The focus will be on two poorly known species, Andrew's hill rat (Bunomys andrewsi), and Hellwald's spiny rat (Maxomys hellwaldii), both from various regions and islands in Sulawesi. In particular, the mainland region will be compared with two small islands off the southeast coast of Sulawesi to test hypotheses about the extent and timing of isolation among local populations.
Methods: Microsatellite DNA loci will be developed for each species, and the populations screened at 10-20 loci. Inbreeding coefficients, assignment and coalescent methods will be used to assess the extent, timing and pattern of differentiation among putative populations, and the differential level of diversity. Results will be interpreted in the context of evolutionary process and conservation.