Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Welch, Mark E.

Committee Member

Ervin, Gary N.

Committee Member

Counterman, Brian A.

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

Visible to MSU only for 2 years

Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Campus Access Only


Biological Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Biological Sciences


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 heterozygosityitness correlations using morphometric measures.