Project Director

O'Neill, Eric M.

Department Examiner

Kajita, Yukie; Craddock, J. Hill; Ledoan, Andrew

Department

Dept. of Biological and Environmental Sciences

Publisher

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)

Abstract

Cryptic species are difficult to identify morphologically; therefore, their distributions are often poorly understood. However, species distributions are critical for evaluating biodiversity in ecology and biodiversity. Dusky salamanders (Desmognathus) are an example of species of North American salamanders that have been particularly difficult to classify. Specifically, in the southern Cumberland Plateau, the dusky salamanders’ distributions are unknown. Desmognathus fuscus and D. conanti have been found to the north and south of the southern Cumberland Plateau, respectively. However, they have not been adequately sampled in this region. I studied genetic variation in the mitochondrial gene CytB in Desmognathus salamanders sampled from four locations in the southern Cumberland Plateau to attempt to determine which species is present in this area. Based on BLAST and phylogenetic analyses of the sequence data, these samples do not appear to be either D. fuscus or D. conanti, but instead are most similar to an undescribed lineage previously identified in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. This lineage is currently under further investigation, by other researchers, to determine if it is a new species.

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank all individuals who have been of assistance on this project. Dr. O’Neill has been invaluable in teaching me about the lab. Dr. Kajita has also provided much assistance in regards to molecular techniques. I would also like to thank members of my DHON committee: Dr. Ledoan and Dr. Craddock, for providing constructive criticism for my project. Lastly, I would like to thank Lily and Coleman for providing support and encouragement throughout this process.

Degree

B. S.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Science.

Date

5-2016

Subject

Salamanders; Dusky salamanders -- Tennessee

Keyword

Desmognathus species; Ecology; Molecular biology; Genetics

Discipline

Environmental Sciences

Document Type

Theses

Extent

33 leaves

Language

English

Rights

Under copyright.

License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/

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