KeywordsRenewable Natural Resources
AdvisorSchwalbe, Cecil R.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractManaging 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.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Renewable Natural Resources