Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Welch, Mark E.

Committee Member

Knapp, Charles R.

Committee Member

Ervin, Gary N.

Committee Member

Wallace, Lisa

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Biological Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Biological Sciences


Inbreeding depression has alarming impacts on threatened species with small population sizes. Assessing inbreeding depression has therefore become an important focus of conservation research. In this study, heterozygosityitness correlations (HFCs) were measured in adult and hatchling Lesser Antillean Iguanas, Iguana delicatissima, from a sampling site at Batali Beach in Dominica to assess the role of inbreeding depression on hatchling fitness and recruitment to the adult population in this endangered species. HFCs in hatchlings revealed no significant correlations and no general effects, suggesting that inbreeding depression may not be affecting hatchling fitness. Further, there were no significant differences in heterozygosity between the adult and hatchling groups suggesting that inbreeding depression may not be an important factor in shaping the population dynamics of I. delicatissima in Dominica. HFCs in the adults, however, revealed a significant negative correlation between heterozygosity and snout-vent length, which is more consistent with outbreeding depression in the population.