Date of Award

Spring 5-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Josiah H. Townsend, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Joseph E. Duchamp, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Shundong Bi, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Nancy J. Trun, Ph.D.

Abstract

The Incilius coccifer complex in Honduras is comprised of three taxa: I. coccifer, I. ibarrai, and I. porteri. The evolutionary and taxonomic relationships within the I. coccifer complex have been the source of debate among specialists, with some recognizing one widespread species and others recognizing three. In an attempt to assess species boundaries and reevaluate the taxonomic structure for the I. coccifer complex, I utilized an integrative approach that combines comprehensive field-based sampling, molecular phylogenetics and population level genetics, species distribution modeling, and electrophoretic protein profiling of parotoid secretions. A comparative evaluation of my results from these methods reinforces the current taxonomy of the I. coccifer complex. It also opens up the potential for a wealth of future research on the I. coccifer complex, as well as the potential for in-depth studies on non-allopatric modes of speciation using Honduras and the I. coccifer complex as model systems.

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