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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Genomic Markers Recognition of at Least Four Forms of Spotted Skunks in the United States
by Bell, Zachariah, M.S., University of Wyoming, 2020, 55; 28262103
Abstract (Summary)

The plains spotted skunk (Spilogale putorius interrupta) was petitioned for listing under the United States Endangered Species Act in 2011. A decision on the petition is due in 2023. Our goals were to determine the genetic differentiation between eastern (S. putorius) and western (S. gracilis) spotted skunks throughout their range, and assess the distinctness of the plains subspecies using genomic techniques. We then used genomics data to delineate the distribution and habitat associations of eastern and western spotted skunks in Wyoming, where both phylogroups have been purported to occur. Using a large (>2.4 Giga base pairs) reference genome of a western spotted skunk and 153 samples collected in 14 states, we obtained, after filtering, 406,858 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Population genetic analyses (principal components, FST values, Admixture, and phylogenetic trees) indicate that spotted skunks in our sample cluster into at least four groups that have substantial genetic differences. These included a group of samples from Arkansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Texas corresponding to S. p. interrupta. A second group encompassed all the specimens from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Virginia that have been previously assigned to S. p. putorius and S. p. ambarvalis (FL). The samples from Arizona and those from Texas identified as western spotted skunks composed a group likely belonging to S. g. leucoparia. The fourth group included samples from Wyoming, Oregon and Washington corresponding with S. g. gracilis. Florida samples could not be separated from other S. p. putorius specimens. We found no plains spotted skunks in Wyoming although the phylogenetic analysis suggested a separation of samples from the northern and southern parts of the state. Our results provide support for other recent studies that suggest that S. p. interrupta should be considered as a distinct genetic group. Future work will place these genetic differences into biological context and further evaluate their significance for management.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ben-David, Merav
Commitee: Keinath, Douglas, Buerkle, Alex, Merkle, Jerod
School: University of Wyoming
Department: Zoology & Physiology
School Location: United States -- Wyoming
Source: MAI 82/7(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Genetics, Ecology, Zoology, Wildlife Management, Wildlife Conservation
Keywords: Genomics, Spotted skunk, Taxonomy, United States, Endangered Species Act of 2011, Habitat associations , Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), Arkansas , Nebraska, South Dakota, Texas , Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia
Publication Number: 28262103
ISBN: 9798569914913
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