Author

Amber Stedman

Date Approved

2016

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Department

Biology

Committee Member

Katherine Greenwald

Committee Member

Steven Francoeur

Committee Member

Margaret Hanes

Abstract

Understanding species’ genetic diversity allows for informed management that preserves evolutionary potential. Informed management becomes crucial as genetic diversity declines and species become susceptible to threats such as climate change. For some species, it can be difficult to determine whether extant populations persist in an area. Genetic tools allow us to address both of these issues. Phylogeographic analyses allow managers to understand a population’s genetic makeup with respect to other populations, facilitating decisions that preserve local adaptation and evolutionary potential. Environmental DNA analysis complements traditional survey techniques and increases confidence when determining species’ range. Here, we explore the phylogeography of the mudpuppy’s western range and examine the feasibility of using eDNA to complement traditional surveys. Results show a deep ancestral split between the eastern and western portions of the mudpuppy’s range. Environmental DNA results show differential amplification between eDNA samples and negative controls, although the methods require further optimization.

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Biology Commons

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