Date of Graduation

12-2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Biology (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Biological Sciences

Advisor

Marlis Douglas

Committee Member

Michael Douglas

Second Committee Member

Julie Savidge

Third Committee Member

David Krementz

Fourth Committee Member

Robert Reed

Keywords

Brown Treesnake, ddRAD, Genomics, Invasives, Parentage, Pedigrees

Abstract

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.

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