Master's Theses

Date of Award

Fall 2002

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

Advisor

Jerry R. Choate

Abstract

I analyzed variation in a portion of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region to determine if montane populations of the red squirrel (tamiasciurus hudsonicus) in Colorado are isolated and to relate genetic variation in the species to glacial cycles in the Pleistocene and associated forest fragmentation. I also used molecular data and boundaries of other boreal mammalian subspecies to investigate the taxonomy of T. hudsonicus in Colorado. AMOVA revealed that the proportions of genetic diversity resulting from variation among mountain ranges and among populations within each mountain range was 64.67 and 8.21%, respectively, whereas the proportion of genetic diversity within populations was 27.12%. Diversity of mtDNA haplotypes (h) was high for this study, whereas diversity of nucleotides (pi) was low. Analyses revealed a deep phylogenetic break (northern and southern refugia) exhibited by T. hudsonicus in Colorado. Current classification recognizes only one subspecies of red squirrel in Colorado, T. hudsonicus fremonti. I suggest that at least two subspecies exist in Colorado, with the boundary correlating with the deep phylogenetic break exhibited by T. hudsonicus. No taxonomic distinctions are proposed at this time.

Rights

Copyright 2002 Lacrecia A. Johnson

Comments

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