Date of Graduation
Doctor of Philosophy in Biology (PhD)
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
Fourth Committee Member
Brown Treesnake, ddRAD, Genomics, Invasives, Parentage, Pedigrees
Invasive species represent major threats to biodiversity, global economies, and human health. Consequently, extensive research has been directed towards improving methods that restrict and contain them. Yet, control measures can also act as agents of selection by significantly impacting the reproductive capacity of invasives (in the context of “eco-evo” dynamics). The end result is that control measures subsequently alter the fitness landscape of an invasive over ecologically-relevant time, and lose their efficacy by so doing. However, adaptive management can be promoted by investigating the relationships between reproductive ecology, strength of selection, and (additive) genetic variation. In short, effective control can be developed in a management sense by unravelling those mechanisms that link reproductive ecology with selection, genetic variation, and trait heritability. In this dissertation, I considered the evolutionary consequences of these aspects with regard to the management of a quintessential invasive species, the Brown Treesnake (Boiga irregularis=BTS) on Guam. I used 654 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) derived from double digest restriction-site associated DNA (ddRAD) library preparation to reconstruct a 15-year multi-generational pedigree of BTS in an experimentally-closed population (N = 426). When juxtaposed with ecological data, the pedigree served to: (1) Characterize fundamental aspects of BTS reproductive ecology, (2) quantify selection on traits identified as important for mating and reproduction, (3) assess the role of selection in shaping population genetic variation, (4) ascertain the capacity of these traits to evolve in response to control, and (5) underscore the effect of trait evolution on average annual reproductive success. The results of this dissertation will promote “evolutionarily enlightened management” of invasive species in general, and invasive Brown Treesnake specifically.
Levine, B. A. (2018). Evolutionary Dynamics of Brown Treesnake (Boiga irregularis) Reproductive Ecology, with Implications for Invasive Species Control. Graduate Theses and Dissertations Retrieved from https://scholarworks.uark.edu/etd/2989