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Mr Rui Miguel Moutinho Sá 


Group identifying cards

PhD Project Title: Genetic characterisation of a chimpanzee community (Pan troglodytes verus) from Guinea-Bissau

Supervisors: Professor Mike Bruford, Dr. Cláudia Sousa, New University of Lisbon, Portugal

Map of Guinea-Bissau

Research Description:

Molecular Primatology has been a very useful for studying wild non-human primate populations, which are sometimes difficult to monitor through direct observation. I intend to genetically characterize a group of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus), that live in a natural state on the coastal region of Quinara/Tombali, Guinea-Bissau.

  •      Western chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) are more endangered than any other chimpanzee sub-species on the African continent.
  •      An important priority area for their conservation is situated in the costal region of Guinea-Bissau.
  •      Approximately 500 chimpanzees currently live in the coastal forests of Guinea-Bissau, including the south-western regions of Quinara and Tombali. They are not usually hunted or eaten in this region, and they exhibit the interesting behaviour of nesting in oil palms.
Group in bush

Objectives:

i)  To study the genetic diversity and structure of the chimpanzee communities in Guinea Bissau;

  •    To understand their demographic history;
  •    To assess the evolutionary forces that shape and maintain their genetic variation;
  •    To infer the effects of habitat loss in their genetic structure.

ii) To characterize the social groups and their dynamics in Cantanhez;

  •    To determine their effective population size;
  •    To estimate their sex ratio;
  •    To establish their pedigree structure (parenthood and relatedness);
  •    To understand how their culture may influence their patterns of genetic diversity.

An additional objective is to carry out a preliminary survey of internal parasites in different social groups and to describe the most common parasites present in their faeces.

Collaborations:

CRIA- Centre for Research in Anthropology, Portugal- http://ceas.iscte.pt/cria/

CIAS- Research Centre for Anthropology and Health, Coimbra University, Portugal-http://www.uc.pt/en/informacaosobre/investigacao/en/cia

GEEvH- Human Evolution Studies Group, Portugal- http://www.geevh.org/default.htm

APP- Portuguese Primatological Society, Portugal- http://www.apprimatologia.org/