Term of Award

Fall 2017

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Biology

Committee Chair

Jamie Roberts

Committee Member 1

Scott Harrison

Committee Member 2

Lance McBrayer

Committee Member 3

Carola Haas

Committee Member 3 Email



The reticulated flatwoods salamander (RFS) is an endangered salamander with a unique life history. One of the largest known, best studied refuges for RFS is found on Eglin Air Force Base, and these RFS have been sampled and managed extensively since 2010. My thesis seeks to better understand RFS by using genetic techniques to address several unknowns, including: 1) determining the population structuring of RFS and the manageable units for species conservation, 2) estimating the size and status of populations, 3) understanding dispersal of RFS and factors that influence this, 4) exploring the breeding biology and recruitment patterns of RFS and how they affect population sizes, and 5) drawing general conclusions about RFS population biology and recommendations for future management. The first, second, and third objectives are addressed in Chapter 1, by analyzing variation at nuclear microsatellite genetic markers within and among known, extant breeding populations on Eglin to determine the genetic structuring of RFS as well as landscape factors that would influence dispersal between the breeding ponds. The fourth objective is addressed in Chapter 2 and utilizes the same microsatellite markers but focuses on two ponds and two years in which extensive sampling of adult and larval RFS was conducted. The fifth objective is addressed in the General Conclusion section in which I use data from both chapters to provide management suggestions that can be utilized both on Eglin and elsewhere.

Research Data and Supplementary Material