Title

Genetic diversity and population structure of non-indigenous burmese pythons (Python Molurus Bivittatus) in Everglades National Park, Florida

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Major/Program

Biology

First Advisor's Name

Timothy M. Collins

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Javier Francisco-Ortega

Third Advisor's Name

Maureen A. Donnelly

Date of Defense

5-9-2008

Abstract

One of the more recent vertebrate introductions to South Florida's Everglades is the Burmese Python, Python molurus bivittatus. These pythons prey on and may compete with native species for habitat and prey. Molecular data including rnitochondrial DNA sequences and microsatellite loci was used to examine the genetic diversity of Burmese pythons sampled from Everglades National Park, determine whether this diversity suggests that the populations are distinct or part of a single large population, and determine if there is genetic evidence for parthenogenetic reproduction in P. m. bivittatus in ENP. Multiple population analyses revealed that the ENP Burmese pythons display low genetic differentiation suggesting no significant substructure. One cause for this low differentiation may be that the pythons are interbreeding and spread throughout the park. There is no evidence of parthenogenetic reproduction in the sampled ENP pythons. Management strategies should focus on controlling a large established population.

Identifier

FI15101444

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