Population genomics and geospatial tools to inform management and research priorities for non-marine molluscs
Type of DegreeMaster's Thesis
School of Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Sciences
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Non-marine molluscs comprise a large portion of biodiversity on Earth. However, they are among the most understudied and imperiled groups globally. As such, there is a pressing need to fill knowledge gaps regarding fundamental aspects of their biology and distribution, which can enhance conservation efforts for these animals. In this thesis, I use two different approaches toward studying non-marine molluscs that both improves knowledge of their broad-scale biology and contributes to the development of actionable conservation practices. In chapter one, I use high-resolution genomic data to explore the population genetic patterns and demographic history of a federally endangered freshwater mussel species (Epioblasma brevidens). In chapter two, I use geospatial data from museum collections and digital resources to compile a statewide checklist of the terrestrial gastropod fauna associated with the state of Tennessee and to asses the potential for spatial and taxonomic biases in sampling efforts. These two chapters, while different in their methodologies, each serve to accomplish both aforementioned objectives.