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Prioritizing evolutionarily isolated insects for zoo-based conservation

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Thesis type
(Thesis) M.Sc.
Date created
When identifying potential candidates for conservation attention, zoos use species selection schemes which include a variety of criteria, including Evolutionary Distinctiveness (ED; a measure of evolutionary isolation). ED has yet to be calculated for groups lacking sufficient phylogenetic data, including insects, a group experiencing global declines. I perform a series of tests with increasing amounts of phylogenetic and taxonomic information to assess its ability to identify top-ranking ED species, using global mammals and amphibians as test cases. I find that such limited information is not sufficient to reliably identify ED species. Next, I examine the use of short DNA sequences (known as "DNA barcodes") using Canadian butterflies and a subset of global bees as test cases. DNA barcodes may provide a promising avenue for measuring ED for data-deficient insects. DNA barcodes are becoming increasingly available for insects, and therefore may be useful to zoos when undergoing species selection exercises.
109 pages.
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Copyright is held by the author(s).
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Mooers, Arne
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