Graduation Semester and Year

2021

Language

English

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Quantitative Biology

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Matthew K Fujita

Abstract

Gene flow, mutation, selection, and genetic drift influence patterns of speciation, adaptation, and biodiversity. In the age of genomics, we have been increasingly able to understand the interplay between these microevolutionary processes at the genomic level, and their link to the phenotype and the environment. This, in turn, has provided clarity to the patterns of diversity and biological innovation that these processes generate. My dissertation examines how these microevolutionary processes have influenced patterns of diversity and the evolution of a novel trait in true toads (Anura: Bufonidae). First, I explore what processes (gene flow, incomplete lineage sorting, poor taxonomic resolution) have caused patterns of mitonuclear discordance in a closely related species complex of Mesoamerican toads. I then investigate how this pattern of discordance may have hampered the taxonomic resolution of the species in this complex. Finally, I use North American bufonids to explore potential gene and pathway involvement in defensive toxin synthesis.

Keywords

Microevolution, Amphibians, True toads

Disciplines

Biology | Life Sciences

Comments

Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

Included in

Biology Commons

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