Honors Program Theses


Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Dr. James Demastes, Honors Thesis Advisor, Department of Biology


Studies of cophylogeny (the mirroring of the evolutionary histories of two independent species) lies at the interface of ecology and evolution and therefore is inherently interesting to biologists. The actual mechanisms that lead to patterns cophylogeny are poorly understood. Chewing lice (Trichodectidae) and pocket gophers (Geomyidae) are a model system for the study of cophylogeny. The question to be addressed in this study centers around the fine-scale interactions between pocket gophers and chewing lice in the Southwest United States and whether different louse species actually hybridize within a zone of potential contact. DNA microsatellite techniques, DNA sequencing, PCR, and gel electrophoresis were used to test this question. Based on the results of extensive testing, the evidence indicated hybridization between the two louse species examined. Furthermore, this hybridization was detected on a single host. These conclusions provide valuable insight for future endeavors and furthering the understanding of cophylogeny.

Year of Submission



Department of Biology

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

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