ORCID Identifier(s)

0000-0002-5084-4821

Graduation Semester and Year

2020

Language

English

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Quantitative Biology

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Paul Chippindale

Second Advisor

Todd Castoe

Abstract

Understanding species boundaries and gene flow among the cave and spring salamanders of the central Texas region (genus Eurycea) has been a challenge for many decades. Although previous research has greatly increased our understanding of these salamanders, there are still many unanswered questions involving the number of species in the group and the degree to which populations are connected. The plummeting cost of DNA sequencing has transformed the field of biology, including the field of population genetics. Before the recent advent of high-throughput sequencing, population genetic studies in Eurycea were limited to only a few genetic markers. Here, we leverage next-generation sequencing to test hypotheses of species boundaries, examine patterns of gene flow, and measure genetic diversity using thousands of genome-wide markers. I find multiple instances of hybridization between distantly related species, and evidence for an undescribed species of an extreme blind cave salamander. I also work with San Antonio Zoo, San Antonio, TX, to build a captive research population of the Texas blind salamander (E. rathbuni) and investigate patterns of diversity and generate preliminary estimates of effective population size for the species.

Keywords

Salamanders, Population genomics, Eurycea, RADseq

Disciplines

Biology | Life Sciences

Comments

Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

Included in

Biology Commons

Share

COinS