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Unearthing the past and present of a semi-fossorial lizard: conservation genetics, phylogeography, and taxonomy of Plestiodon egregius.

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Date Issued:
2018
Abstract/Description:
Characterizing an organism's evolutionary history and population structure as well as understanding the forces shaping that divergence is crucial to conservation biology. A clear understanding of the patterns of diversity and divergence are imperative for the best management ofthe organism, while an awareness of what drives these patterns can lead to better predictions of how organisms will respond to future climate change. Historical climate changes and associated sea levelchange are among the main forces driving divergence in many species. To examine how effects of climate changes may have driven patterns of intraspecific divergence, I examined Mole Skinks,Plestiodon egregius, a semi-fossorial lizard of conservation concern. First, I characterized P. egregius evolutionary history and population structure using multiple data sources: morphological characters,mitochondrial sequences (mtDNA), and genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). I determined that SNP data distinguished population structure at a finer resolution than morphologyor mtDNA. From these data, I defined six conservation units within P. egregius, three of which are consistent with current subspecific taxonomy. Next, I used statistical phylogeography to examinehow the effects of historical climate change in the southeastern United States (US) may have driven patterns of intraspecific divergence in P. egregius. I devised a set of alternative hypotheses regardingthe historical distribution and dispersal of P. egregius to test using genome-wide SNP markers. I found support for a historical refugia within the southern scrub ridges in Florida followed byexpansion into the Florida peninsula and mainland US. Synthesizing the results from both studies, I evaluate the current subspecific taxonomy and discuss the conservation of P. egregius. Overall, Iconclude that P. egregius evolutionary history has been driven by historical sea level changes in the southeastern US, and that insular populations should be the focus of conservation efforts.
Title: Unearthing the past and present of a semi-fossorial lizard: conservation genetics, phylogeography, and taxonomy of Plestiodon egregius.
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Name(s): Mercier, Kathryn, Author
Savage, Anna, Committee Chair
Parkinson, Christopher, Committee CoChair
Jenkins, David, Committee Member
University of Central Florida, Degree Grantor
Type of Resource: text
Date Issued: 2018
Publisher: University of Central Florida
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Characterizing an organism's evolutionary history and population structure as well as understanding the forces shaping that divergence is crucial to conservation biology. A clear understanding of the patterns of diversity and divergence are imperative for the best management ofthe organism, while an awareness of what drives these patterns can lead to better predictions of how organisms will respond to future climate change. Historical climate changes and associated sea levelchange are among the main forces driving divergence in many species. To examine how effects of climate changes may have driven patterns of intraspecific divergence, I examined Mole Skinks,Plestiodon egregius, a semi-fossorial lizard of conservation concern. First, I characterized P. egregius evolutionary history and population structure using multiple data sources: morphological characters,mitochondrial sequences (mtDNA), and genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). I determined that SNP data distinguished population structure at a finer resolution than morphologyor mtDNA. From these data, I defined six conservation units within P. egregius, three of which are consistent with current subspecific taxonomy. Next, I used statistical phylogeography to examinehow the effects of historical climate change in the southeastern United States (US) may have driven patterns of intraspecific divergence in P. egregius. I devised a set of alternative hypotheses regardingthe historical distribution and dispersal of P. egregius to test using genome-wide SNP markers. I found support for a historical refugia within the southern scrub ridges in Florida followed byexpansion into the Florida peninsula and mainland US. Synthesizing the results from both studies, I evaluate the current subspecific taxonomy and discuss the conservation of P. egregius. Overall, Iconclude that P. egregius evolutionary history has been driven by historical sea level changes in the southeastern US, and that insular populations should be the focus of conservation efforts.
Identifier: CFE0007225 (IID), ucf:52228 (fedora)
Note(s): 2018-08-01
M.S.
Sciences, Biology
Masters
This record was generated from author submitted information.
Subject(s): Population genetics -- phylogenetics -- herpetology -- conservation
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/ucf/fd/CFE0007225
Restrictions on Access: campus 2019-08-15
Host Institution: UCF

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