Date of Award

Summer 8-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Joseph Duchamp, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Jeffery Larkin, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Josiah Townsend, Ph.D.

Abstract

The fisher (Pekania pennanti) was found throughout Pennsylvania prior to the mid-1800s but were extirpated due to habitat loss and overharvest. The species was reintroduced in 1996 into Pennsylvania following New York and West Virginia in 1967 and 1983, respectively. A sampling of genetic material and point locations of these and other fishers began in 2002 across Pennsylvania and were used to discern source populations using 12 microsatellite loci.

For my thesis, I used this dataset to develop gene flow and movement models within the Isolation by Resistance theory framework. The models were built and validated using a training and testing set method with 70% and 30% of the sample points, respectively. Two results that need investigation is the role of rural development as a positive factor for fisher movement and gene flow and possible movement corridors near Scranton, PA and the Kittatinny Ridge in south eastern Pennsylvania.

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