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University of Arizona (2003)

Desert tortoise conservation genetics

Edwards, Taylor

Titre : Desert tortoise conservation genetics

Auteur : Edwards, Taylor

Université : University of Arizona

Grade : Master of Science 2003

Managing for the long-term survival of a species requires an understanding of its population genetics. The desert tortoise, Gopherus agassizii, inhabits the Mojave and Sonoran deserts of North America. Desert tortoises face many threats to their continued survival, including habitat loss and fragmentation. I used mitochondrial and microsatellite DNA markers to examine genetic structure within and among populations of desert tortoises. I found that both the Mojave and Sonoran populations of desert tortoise exhibit similar patterns of population genetic structure. Gene flow among localities within each region is part of the evolutionary history of the desert tortoise and dispersal events probably play an important role in the long-term maintenance of populations. Movement barriers caused by anthropogenic landscape changes have the potential to effect desert tortoise population viability. Understanding the historical connectivity between and within the Mojave and Sonoran populations of desert tortoises will help facilitate the conservation of this species.

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