Spatially-Explicit Assessments of Genetic Biodiversity and Dispersal in Gopher Tortoises for Evaluation of Habitat Fragmentation at DoD Sites
Final rept. Jan 2006-Dec 2007
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIV AT EDWARDSVILLE DEPT OF BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
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The objective was to perform a proof of principle assessment of genetic diversity and gene flow of gopher tortoises on Camp Shelby, MS. The specific aims were to determine if there is evidence that military activity affects genetic diversity and gene flow. DNA was extracted from the blood of gopher tortoises collected from 22 colonies in and around Camp Shelby. The amount of genetic diversity in each colony and treatment group was determined from microsatellite DNA markers and mitochondrial DNA. The data indicate that the amount of genetic diversity may be affected by a combination of military activity and habitat quality. Data on gene flow indicated that military activity may have affected the rates of dispersal among the tortoise colonies. Genetic distances did not correlate well with geographic distance. This may indicate that gene flow is affected by factors other than geographic distance in these tortoises, possible by military activities on Camp Shelby. Overall, the data indicate that there is enough genetic diversity among these colonies to use genetic approaches in delimiting critical habitat needs for conservation of gopher tortoises, which was the main goal of the research.
- Genetic Engineering and Molecular Biology
- Medicine and Medical Research