Date of Award

5-18-2007

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.S.

Degree Program

Biological Sciences

Department

Biological Sciences

Major Professor

Anthony, Nicola

Second Advisor

Penz, Carla Maria

Third Advisor

Johnson, Steven

Abstract

The Pleistocene land bridge islands in the Aegean Sea make an ideal natural experimental system for testing how island age, area and isolation affect genetic variation. My research focuses on the population genetics of the Aegean wall lizard Podarcis erhardii (Lacertidae, Reptilia), which because of its wide distribution, and poor dispersal abilities is a sensitive indicator of fragmentation history. I predict that genetic diversity will be positively correlated with island area and negatively correlated with age. I also predict that island characteristics, host genetic variability or grazing may impact parasite prevalence. Findings showed that larger islands maintained more genetic diversity than smaller islands and older islands have higher mite loads. Geographic distance was unrelated to genetic divergence. Tick prevalence was significantly associated with past grazing practices. This study provides a unique opportunity to disentangle factors that may influence the retention of genetic diversity and prevalence of ectoparasites in natural populations.

Rights

The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.

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