2018 Research in the Capitol

Presentation Type

Open Access Poster Presentation

Abstract

Species status between closely related species can be difficult to discern. The southwest United States is home to several species of pocket gophers (Geomys), including the northern species, G.arenarius and G. bursarius major, and southern G. bursarius knoxjonesi. Current biogeographic hypotheses for this assemblage involve a population of G. bursarius using one of several potential colonization routes across the arid region between the Pecos River and the Rio Grande Valley, which led to isolation and the speciation of G. arenarius. My project tested three likely colonization routes using comprehensive geographic samples of the aforementioned pocket gopher species. Genetic sequences of the COX1 mitochondrial gene offer insight into the evolutionary relationships between the species and, when combined with geographic data, a story of colonization. A clear route has been mapped based on the genetic data, and further data has been compiled in support of the gophers’ status as independent species.

Start Date

3-4-2018 11:30 AM

End Date

3-4-2018 1:50 PM

Event Host

University Honors Programs, Iowa Regent Universities

Faculty Advisor

Jim Demastes

Department

Department of Biology

File Format

application/pdf

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Apr 3rd, 11:30 AM Apr 3rd, 1:50 PM

Biogeography of Southwestern Pocket Gophers in the Genus Geomys

Species status between closely related species can be difficult to discern. The southwest United States is home to several species of pocket gophers (Geomys), including the northern species, G.arenarius and G. bursarius major, and southern G. bursarius knoxjonesi. Current biogeographic hypotheses for this assemblage involve a population of G. bursarius using one of several potential colonization routes across the arid region between the Pecos River and the Rio Grande Valley, which led to isolation and the speciation of G. arenarius. My project tested three likely colonization routes using comprehensive geographic samples of the aforementioned pocket gopher species. Genetic sequences of the COX1 mitochondrial gene offer insight into the evolutionary relationships between the species and, when combined with geographic data, a story of colonization. A clear route has been mapped based on the genetic data, and further data has been compiled in support of the gophers’ status as independent species.