Genetic structure of island and mainland populations of a Neotropical bumble bee species
Biodiversity loss is a global problem and island species/populations are particularly vulnerable to such loss. Low genetic diversity is one of the factors that can lead a population to extinction. Loss of bee populations is of particular concern because of the knock-on consequences for the pollination guilds that the lost bees once serviced. Here we evaluate the genetic structure of the bumble bee Bombus morio populations on the mainland of South East Brazil and on nearby islands. We analyzed a total of 659 individuals from 24 populations by sequencing two mitochondrial genes (COI and Cytb) and using 14 microsatellite loci. Levels of diversity were high in most of populations and were similar on islands and the mainland. Furthermore, genetic diversity was not significantly correlated with island area, although it was lower in populations from distant islands. Our data suggest that long-term isolation on islands is not affecting the population viability of this species. This may be attributed to the high dispersal ability of B. morio, its capacity to suvive in urban environments, and the characteristics of the studied islands.