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Genetic Variation, Population Structure, and Morphology of an Endemic Bat, Lasiurus cinereus semotus (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) Across the Hawaiian Islands

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Title:Genetic Variation, Population Structure, and Morphology of an Endemic Bat, Lasiurus cinereus semotus (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) Across the Hawaiian Islands
Authors:Pinzari, Corinna Anne
Contributors:Hart, Patrick (advisor)
Price, Donald (advisor)
Tropical Conservation Biology & Environmental Science (department)
Keywords:Wildlife conservation
endangered species
genetic diversity
show 4 moreHawaii
Hawaiian hoary bat
Lasiurus cinereus semotus
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Date Issued:Aug 2019
Abstract:Determining the connections between islands and assessing subpopulations are required to effectively manage an endemic, seasonally migrant bat species with an observed archipelago wide distribution. An innovative technique to characterize the connectivity among populations is to evaluate the genetic similarity between individuals sampled from among and within islands. By combining mitochondrial and nuclear DNA markers (or genetic variants), we can identify how island groups may differ between populations, sexes, and estimate relative abundances. One mitochondrial gene and six nuclear microsatellite loci were used to explore genetic connectivity among and within three islands inhabited by the endangered Hawaiian hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus semotus). Employing the resources of an existing collection of bat tissue samples (~140) from the four major islands (Kaua`i, Hawai`i, Maui, and O`ahu) and applying classical population genetics analyses, I tested for population structure; quantified levels of genetic variation, genetic distance, and gene flow in bats among and within the Hawaiian Islands; estimated both historical long-term female effective population size, and contemporary effective population size; and examined the data for patterns of past bottleneck events. In order to accurately measure degree of population structure and phenotypic variation with respect to sex, I conducted genetic sex determination tests on bat samples from both live and desiccated specimens. I also examined the morphological characteristics of bat skull and wing size on 23 individuals to determine differences with respect to island, mitochondrial clade, and sex. This project provides the most current data set of population level information, describing the genetic diversity and geographic structure of Hawai`i’s only endemic terrestrial land mammal. This study contributes demographic information, sex determination techniques, and banking of diverse DNA samples available for future genomic sequencing, to support management and recovery of an endangered species. Research results may provide support to state and federal agencies tasked with balancing the demands of sustainable wind generated energy and wildlife conservation in Hawai`i.
Pages/Duration:107 pages
Rights:All UHH dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science
TCBES Theses

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