Date of Award
Penz, Carla Maria
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.
Hurston, Heather, "Historical Land Fragmentation and its Effects on Genetic Diversity and Parasitism of Island Populations of Podarcis erhardii (Lacertidae, Reptilia)" (2007). University of New Orleans Theses and Dissertations. 1072.