Mississippi State University
Welch, Mark E.
Gerber, Glenn P.
Date of Degree
Graduate Thesis - Open Access
College of Arts and Sciences
Department of Biological Sciences
Inbreeding depression affects captive populations and those that have been recently impacted by anthropogenic disturbance. However, the evolutionary importance of inbreeding depression in natural populations is not well understood. This study focuses on a naturally small population of Cyclura carinata, the Turks and Caicos Rock Iguana, that has likely been stable for hundreds of generations. Genotypic data at 13 polymorphic microsatellite loci, along with fitness proxies, were collected from 188 individuals across three age classes. Multi-locus heterozygosity is strongly predictive of age class (p < 0.03), and is significantly lower in hatchlings than in juveniles or adults. Estimates for intensity of selection favoring heterozygosity range from 0.498-0.627, indicating that this proportion of individuals fail to survive due to inbreeding depression. The heterozygosityitness correlation among adults is significant (p < 0.01), suggesting outbred individuals have higher reproduction success. Hence, the lifetime influence of inbreeding on fitness is extremely high.
Berk, James W., "Inbreeding and Heterozygosity-Fitness Correlations in a Small, Isolated Population of Turks and Caicos Rock Iguanas, Cyclura Carinata" (2013). Theses and Dissertations. 2676.