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lapas macaw majorero

Majorero macaw - Lapas

The university wants to save the Majorera macaw (lapas).

It is a Macaronesian endemism that is now undergoing a genetic study to improve its conservation status

The University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has completed a genetic study of the populations of the Patella Candei complex in Fuerteventura based on DNA samples obtained from the tissues and DNA of the species.

In order to find solutions to avoid the loss of their populations, located on the island, the entity has carried out this phylogenetic study, the result of which aims to guide the appropriate recovery measures for the species.

The research has discovered that there are obvious genetic differences between the populations located in Fuerteventura and those located in the Savage Islands.

For this reason, the entity concludes that the measures for the recovery of the species in Fuerteventura should not be carried out with repopulations of specimens from other islands, but through the reproduction of seeds with individuals from the island's own population.

The Majorera macaw (Patella candei) is a historical, traditional and endemic resource of the biodiversity of the Canary Islands. It is a Macaronesian endemism that in the Canary Islands is a traditional fishing resource and whose populations have decreased to the point of being reduced to a specific area of Fuerteventura.

In fact, its listing as "endangered" is compounded by the lack of consensus on its taxonomy and range. At present, the various morphometric, meristic, and molecular approaches have not allowed a consensus about the significant evolutionary units that would make up the Patella candei complex.

According to the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the management and conservation of this organism inevitably requires the clarification of its phylogenetic and taxonomic position, and the estimation of genetic diversity throughout the distribution range of its populations. Likewise, the analysis of a reduced representation of its genome will provide the highly resolute markers (SNPs) required to resolve these fundamental and critical questions in the implementation of initiatives for the conservation of the species.

The general objective of the project has been to evaluate the taxonomy and genetic diversity in the endemic Majorera macaw based on genomic data for advice on the conservation of this endangered species.

The specific objectives have been as follows:

Manage the entity's Patella candei tissue and DNA bank to provide the DNA samples required for genomic analysis

Sequence a reduced representation of the genome of Patella candei.

To analyze the relationships between Macaronesian populations from the Azores to Cape Verde from Patella candei.

Implement the conclusions on taxonomy and structure of genetic diversity in Patella candei populations in a management and conservation plan for the resource.

In this way, the SNPs4candei project has carried out the genetic study of the populations of the Patella candei complex from DNA samples obtained from the tissues and DNA of the species, available in the Macaronesian Marine Gene Bank BANGEMAC of the BioMol Laboratory of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Genetic sequencing was carried out after selecting 70 DNA samples from four ddRAD libraries plus one control library, with a group of 20 individuals per library. Subsequently, thanks to a principal component analysis (PCA), it has been possible to represent the genetic separation between the two subspecies of Patella candei: Patella candei candei and Patella candei crenata.

In this way, the phylogenetic results obtained for Patella candei candei and derived from the dendrogram and cluster analysis, show that there are evident genetic differences between the populations of this subspecies located in Fuerteventura and the populations of the same subspecies located in the Savage Islands. For this reason, the entity concludes that the recovery measures of the subspecies in Fuerteventura should not be carried out with repopulations of specimens from other Macaronesian islands, in particular, from the Savage Islands, since their execution could have a negative impact on the genetic biodiversity of the taxon.

In short, the entity has managed to clarify the taxonomic and phylogenetic position of the Patella candei complex, by demonstrating that there are genetic differences and divergences between the populations of Fuerteventura and the Savage Islands. For this reason, the entity has proposed to establish specific measures for the management of the resource in Fuerteventura, based on genomic results, based on the system of seed reproduction with individuals from the island's own population to ensure the restoration of their populations in the marine ecosystem of the Canary Islands. This action has been considered a priority and has been agreed upon by the participants of the interdisciplinary and institutional workshop organized within the framework of the project and in which both researchers and technical staff from the competent administrations have collaborated.

Finally, the results of the project have been transferred to the Ministry of Ecological Transition, Fight against Climate Change and Territorial Planning of the Government of the Canary Islands and to the Tenerife Territorial Centre of the Spanish Oceanographic Institute (IEO) through an executive report, as well as to the scientific community through a poster presented at the AQUI 2021 Forum, specialized in marine resources, and the publication of two scientific articles in specialized press.

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