Date Approved


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Degree Name

Biology (M.S.)

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The recent emergence of threats to North American bat conservation has prompted increased population genetics research on high risk species. The eastern pipistrelle bat is affected by both white-nose syndrome and wind turbine mortality. However, little work has been done regarding the population structure and effective population size of this species. Using the HVI region of the mitochondria and eight microsatellite loci, I analyzed male and female structure across the sample range of P. subflavus and estimated the effective population size of their populations. Pairwise FST values indicate that there is one panmictic population based on microsatellite data, while mitochondrial data supports two populations within the sampled range. AMOVA results suggest that females are making short distance movements (ϕSC = 9.23%). Mitochondrial and microsatellite data showed contrasting results for effective population size and size change over time. Mitochondrial data suggest an increase in female effective size for both Appalachian and West populations in the past 15,000 to 28,000 years from ~15,000 individuals to 400,000. Microsatellite data further suggest a recent bottleneck from a large ancestral population (1.55 x 106), leaving a small current effective population of 9,000 (95% HPDI 10, 3.78 x 106) individuals. The persistence of the eastern pipistrelle is dependent upon the maintenance of genetic diversity, and calls for the conservation of genetically distinct populations as well as the preservation of hibernacula and swarming locations.

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