A genetic assessment of the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme’s success, and prognosis for the species’ future conservation
Item TypeGraduate Thesis
AdvisorWelch, Mark E.
CommitteeErvin, Gary N.
Counterman, Brian A.
Embargo TypeVisible to MSU only for 2 years
Embargo Lift Date2022-08-15
In this study, we used ostensibly neutral microsatellite markers to study genetic variance and heterozygosity of endangered Cyclura lewisi during captive management in the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme. We assessed the variation present in the founding population and how genetic diversity changed throughout the past 20 years of management. We also studied how heterozygosity may correlate with fitness through morphometric measures and success of recruitment after release into the wild. While we found a reduction in effective population size, standardized heterozygosity, and fixation indices did not significantly change from the founders to later generations. We found no evidence for inbreeding depression in the captive population but a significant difference in heterozygosity of animals released to the Salina Reserve. Lastly, we found little evidence to support heterozygosity-fitness correlations using morphometric measures.