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Chua Studying Systematics & Conservation Of Mouse-Deer

PhD Student Marcus Chua
PhD Student Marcus Chua. Photo provided.

Marcus Chua, a doctoral student co-advised by HC Lim, Assistant Professor, Biology, and Thomas Lovejoy, University Professor, Environmental Science and Policy, is investigating the systematics and taxonomy of the living chevrotains—animals also known as mouse-deer.  

 As part of his work, Chua will determine whether the phylogenetic relationships of Tragulus across Southeast Asia, especially the Sundaland islands, reflects the biogeographic history, such as the impacts of past habitat and glacioeustatic changes in the region. He will use multiple species delimitation methods to test species hypotheses and concordance. 

Chua will use both specimens (study skins) deposited in natural history collections and fresh tissue from salvaged specimens for his research. 

This research is important because a well-resolved phylogeny of the Tragulidae with dense taxon and geographic sampling is essential for clarifying the systematics of the chevrotains, and will aid downstream research in the identification of conservation units, ecology, and conservation efforts. 

Chua received $3,000 from the Society of Systematic Biologists for this project. Funding began in May 2021 and will end in late December 2022.