2015 Student Research Conference:
28th Annual Student Research Conference

Population Genetics of Roatán Spiny-Tailed Iguanas, Ctenosaura oedirhina
Jessica N. Plaggenberg
Dr. Stephen Hudman, Faculty Mentor

Roatan Spiny-tailed Iguanas, Ctenosaura oedirhina are listed as endangered and occur in less than 1% of the available habitat on Roatan, due primarily to hunting pressure. This species faces severe fragmentation. Herein we used a combination of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA to elucidate contemporary levels of genetic diversity and genetic structure across the range of this species. Our results reveal low levels of genetic diversity within groups at each site sampled coupled with moderate to high levels of genetic differentiation among these sites. Alleles and haplotypes shared among those sites suggest widespread historical connectivity across Roatan. Despite past connectivity, however, our data indicate contemporary disruption of movement between sites resulting in the high level of observed genetic differentiation, an indication of multiple genetically isolated populations. Our data further suggest inbreeding within sites, making each group more vulnerable. From this data a management plan can be devised to manage long-term persistence.

Keywords: genetics, population, reptile, mitochondrial DNA, nuclear DNA

Topic(s):Biology

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 107-4
Location: MG 2001
Time: 8:45

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