Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Biological Sciences


Biological Sciences

Major Professor

Nicola Anthony

Second Advisor

Simon Lailvaux

Third Advisor

Susan Perkins


Few studies have explored the evolutionary mechanisms that maintain adaptive immunogenetic diversity in nature. We took advantage of museum samples to test for evidence of parasite-mediated fluctuating selection at MHC Class II-ß loci in an endemic island reptile. The Saban anole Anolis sabanus is commonly infected with three species of malaria (Plasmodium). Proportions of each parasite species detected in anole blood samples fluctuated over space and time, suggesting competitive interactions between parasites or differences in vector ecology. Our analyses of parasite prevalence and MHC Class II-ß allelic variation found that malaria infection was not associated with patterns of host immunogenetic diversity. We found that infection was contingent on sex, with males being more likely to test positive for malaria. These results indicate that malaria parasites do not impose significant selective pressures on A. sabanus or that genetic drift in this island population overwhelms the effects of parasite-mediated selection.


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.