Phylogeography, Population Structure, and Conservation of the Javan Gibbon (Hylobates moloch)

Valentine Kheng, Julia M. Zichello, Daniel N. Lumbantobing, Shobi Z.S. Lawalata, Noviar Andayani, Don J. Melnick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


An understanding of phylogeography and population genetics is needed for a comprehensive long-term conservation management strategy. The Javan gibbon (Hylobates moloch), an Endangered species endemic to the island of Java, has been protected since 1924 but is threatened by ongoing habitat loss, habitat degradation, and the wildlife trade. We studied the phylogeography and population genetic structure of the Javan gibbon, to define the number of Evolutionary Significant Units (ESUs) in the species, and the population genetic structure in each ESU. We sampled 47 individuals, analyzing 35 for variation in mitochondrial DNA control region, 41 for variation in 8 nuclear DNA microsatellites, and 13 for variation in 45 nuclear DNA single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). We found support for two ESUs across the species range: a western ESU, extending from Ujung Kulon to Gunung Gede–Pangrango, and a central ESU, extending from Gunung Masigit–Simpang–Tilu to Gunung Slamet. Analysis of molecular variance and population structure analysis indicate significant structuring in the western ESU between Ujung Kulon and Gunung Halimun–Salak–Gede–Pangrango, and little to moderate structure in the central ESU, underscoring the importance of conserving as many populations as possible to preserve the full array of genetic diversity in this species. Our results will inform future more comprehensive population genetic surveys and the conservation genetic management of the Javan gibbon. This study demonstrates the importance of genetics when designing conservation management strategies for endangered primates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-26
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Primatology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018


  • Evolutionary Significant Unit
  • Javan gibbon
  • Microsatellites
  • Mitochondrial DNA
  • Single nucleotide polymorphisms


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