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Wildlife Genetics

Ongoing Projects
Molecular Markers for Wildlife
Mule Deer
Bighorn Sheep
Landscape Genetics
Allegheny woodrats
Population Genetics Simulations
Highway project
Virginia opossum
Box turtles
Recent Projects
Wild Turkey
Lake Sturgeon

Molecular Markers for Wildlife

River Otter photoRiver otters at a latrine site. Photo: Zach Olson

The Rhodes Lab develops and uses genetic tools to address complex species management issues, particularly those which have historically been difficult to address with traditional wildlife management techniques. Techniques for the development of highly polymorphic sets of genetic markers can now be performed at a modest expense within any well equipped molecular laboratory. In addition, modern genetic analysis methods now make it possible to identify and tag individual organisms at a reasonable level of cost, effort and accuracy. The development and application of genetic markers for use in wildlife management programs is highly desired by the wildlife management community. The objectives of this line of research are to develop genetic tools and sampling protocols for use in wildlife species and to conceptually develop the theoretical foundations of population genetics in ways that can be applied to otherwise intractable wildlife management problems.

Funding Source: Purdue University

Personnel: Jenny Fike, Guha Dharmarajan, Sara Anderson, Emily Latch, Andrea Drauch


Beheler, A.S., J.A. Fike, L.M. Murffitt, O.E. Rhodes, Jr. and T.L. Serfass. 2004. Development of polymorphic microsatellite loci for North American river otters (Lontra canadensis) and amplification in related Mustelids. Molecular Ecology Notes. 4:56-58.

Beheler, A.S., J.A. Fike, G. Dharmarajan, T.L. Serfass and O.E. Rhodes, Jr. 2005. Ten new polymorphic microsatellite loci for North American river otters (Lontra canadensis) and their utility in related Mustelids. Molecular Ecology Notes. 4:56-58.

Fike, J.A., T.L. Serfass, A.S. Beheler and O.E. Rhodes, Jr. 2006. Evaluation of preservation methods for DNA analyses of river otter scat: Probability of amplification and genotyping accuracy. Proceedings of the XI International Otter Colloquium. (In Press).

Barr, K.R., G. Dharmarajan, O.E. Rhodes, Jr., R.L. Lance, P.L. Leberg. 2007. Novel microsatellite loci for the study of the black-capped vireo (Vireo atricapillus). Molecular Ecology Notes. 7:1067-1069.

Latch, E.K., E.J. Smith, and O.E. Rhodes, Jr. 2002. Isolation and characterization of microsatellite loci in wild and domestic turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo). Molecular Ecology Notes 2(2): 176-178.

Jordan, M.J., J.M. Higley, S.M. Mathews, O.E. Rhodes, Jr., M.K. Shwartz, R.H. Barrett, P.J. Palsboll. 2007. Development of 23 new microsatellite loci for fishers (Martes pennanti). Molecular Ecology Notes. 7:797-801.

Watson, C., A.S. Beheler, and O.E. Rhodes, Jr. 2002. Development of hypervariable microsatellite loci for use in eastern phoebes (Sayornis phoebe) and related Tyrannids. Molecular Ecology Notes 2:117-118.

Beheler, A.S., J.A. Fike and O.E. Rhodes, Jr. 2007. Eight new polymorphic microsatellite loci from the eastern phoebe (Sayornis phoebe). Conservation Genetics. 8:1259-1261.

Fike, J.A., G. Dharmarajan, A. M. Drauch and O.E. Rhodes, Jr. Development of polymorphic microsatellite loci for raccoons (Procyon lotor). Molecular Ecology Notes. 7:525-527.

Anderson, S.J., J.A. Fike, G. Dharmarajan and O.E. Rhodes, Jr. 2007. Characterization of 12 polymorphic microsatellite loci for eastern chipmunks (Tamias striatus). Molecular Ecology Notes. 7:513-515.

Dharmarajan, G., J.A. Fike, J.C. Beasley, and O.E. Rhodes, Jr. 2008. Development and characterization of 12 polymorphic microsatellite loci in American dog tick (Dermacentor variablis). Molecular Ecology Resources (In Press).

Collaborators: T.L. Serfass, D.G. Scognamillo, M.J. Jordan, K.R. Barr, P.L. Leberg, M.K. Shwartz, R.H. Barrett, P.J. Palsboll, J.M. Higley, S.M. Mathews, R.L. Lance


Mule Deer

Mule Deer photoMule Deer

The purpose of this project is to use genetic tools recently refined through other research to characterize genetic diversity throughout the entire geographic range of mule and black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus). Specifically, we are interested in restructuring subspecific taxonomy for mule and black-tailed deer in North America to better reflect the evolutionary history of the species, and to define practical units of conservation based on current genetic differences and restrictions to gene flow. In areas where hybridization in a concern, we will examine genetic variability at a localized scale to characterize zones of introgression. We also aim to evaluate genetic variation so that it can be utilized in forensic applications to determine the geographic origin of a harvested mule or black-tailed deer. We have collected genetic data from nuclear and mitochondrial markers for over 2,300 samples throughout North America and are currently performing analyses using these data.

Funding Source: Purdue University, Jim Heffelfinger

Personnel: Emily Latch, Jenny Fike


Latch, E.K., R.P. Amann, J.P. Jacobson, and O.E. Rhodes, Jr. 2008. Competing hypotheses for the etiology of cryptorchidism in Sitka black-tailed deer: An evaluation of evolutionary alternatives. Animal Conservation (In Press).

Collaborators: Jim Heffelfinger, Rupert Amann


Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn sheep photoBighorn Sheep capture. Photo: Zach Olson

This research focuses on the implications of supplementation for populations of California bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis californiana) in Oregon. Most extant populations of California bighorns in Oregon are the result - directly or indirectly - of transplants from an original, successful reintroduction of 20 individuals from Williams Lake, British Columbia, to Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge in 1954. Recently, Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) biologists observed reduced lamb recruitment and general numerical declines in some populations. As there was no evidence of disease-related die-offs-a pervasive problem in sheep management-Whittaker et al. (2004) assessed the genetic variability of 5 populations in Oregon and 1 comparison population from Nevada. Their findings of reduced genetic variability and higher inbreeding potential in the Oregon herds as compared to the Nevada population prompted ODFW to supplement the Steens Mountain and Leslie Gulch herds, in 2000 and 2001, respectively, with individuals from the Santa Rosa Mountains herd in Nevada. This project is designed to determine the efficacy of those supplementations using both genetic methods and demographic data.

Personnel: Zach Olson, Emily Latch, Jenny Fike


Latch, E.K., J.R. Heffelfinger, B.F. Wakeling, J. Hanna, D. Conrad and O.E. Rhodes, Jr. 2006. Genetic subspecies identification of a recently colonized bighorn sheep population in central Arizona. Pages 1-9 in the Proceedings of the Managing Wildlife in the Southwest Symposium. J.W. Cain and P.R. Krauseman eds. Southwest Section of The Wildlife Society.

Olson, Z.H., D.G. Whittaker, and O.E. Rhodes, Jr. 2008. The use of molecular markers in wild sheep research in North America: A review. Pgs xxx-xxx in Proceedings of the Northern Wild Sheep and Goat Council Biennial Symposium.

Collaborators: D.G. Whittaker, J.R. Heffelfinger, B.F. Wakeling



Fisher photoFisher

Over the past few decades, fishers (Martes pennanti) have been successfully reintroduced into much of their former range throughout the northcentral and northeastern United States. However, few data exist regarding genetic variation in this species and no studies of genetic structure have been performed. In light of the extensive reintroduction history of the fisher and the absence of genetic data for this species, we have initiated a research program targeted at elucidating genetic structure of fisher populations in the northeastern and northcentral US. Comparisons of genetic variability and gene dynamics in source and reintroduced fisher populations will be performed in order to better understand the consequences of reintroduction on this species' genetic structure in the landscape.

Funding Source: Purdue University

Personnel: Rod Williams, Jenny Fike, Emily Latch


Williams, R.N., L.K. Page, T.L. Serfass, and O.E. Rhodes, Jr. 1999. Genetic polymorphisms in fishers (Martes pennanti) from the northeastern United States. American Midland Naturalist 141:406-410.

Williams, R.N., O.E. Rhodes, Jr., and T.L. Serfass. 2000. Assessment of genetic variance among source and reintroduced fisher populations. Journal of Mammalogy 81:895-907.

Jordan, M.J., J.M. Higley, S.M. Mathews, O.E. Rhodes, Jr., M.K. Shwartz, R.H. Barrett, P.J. Palsboll. 2007. Development of 23 new microsatellite loci for fishers (Martes pennanti). Molecular Ecology Notes. 7:797-801.

Collaborators: T.L. Serfass, P. Hapeman, and M.J. Jordan


Landscape Genetics

ChipmunkChipmunk: Jim Beasley

Landscape genetics is an emerging field combining techniques from population genetics and landscape biology. We are studying two common rodent species (Tamias striatus and Peromyscus leucopus) in the upper Wabash river basin using a landscape genetics approach. The basic idea is that landscape features will have an impact on the dispersal/movement ability of individuals. This will lead to genetic differences between areas that are separated by a movement barrier. At fine scales, barriers can be difficult to see, but with the aid of genetic data, we can determine which animals have moved, and how. Powerful statistical tests enable us to estimate population boundaries, which we can plot on a map and confidently predict what physical landscape feature is affecting the population subdivision. This approach differs subtly from a classic population genetics method in that we do not predefine the populations. We use the genetic and geographic data to calculate likely populations from the whole. Our goal is to better understand genetic structure and animal movement at fine scales in a highly fragmented landscape.

Funding Source: GAANN, USDA, John S. Wright Fund, Purdue University

Personnel: Sara Anderson, Jenny Fike, Emily Latch


Anderson, S.J., J.A. Fike, G. Dharmarajan and O.E. Rhodes, Jr. 2007. Characterization of 12 polymorphic microsatellite loci for eastern chipmunks (Tamias striatus). Molecular Ecology Notes. 7:513-515.

Latch, E.K., D.G. Scognamillo, J.A. Fike, M.J. Chamberlain and O.E. Rhodes, Jr. 2008. Landscape genetic structure of river otters in Louisiana. Journal of Heredity. 99:265-274.

Collaborators: R. Swihart, D. Scognamillo, M. Chamberlain


Allegeny Woodrats

Woodrat photoWoodrat in trap. Photo: Tim Smyser

Allegheny woodrats (Neotoma magister) once were common throughout the forests of the Appalachian Mountains, ranging from southeastern New York to Alabama and as far west as Indiana. As habitat specialists, the local distribution of Allegheny woodrats is restricted by the presence of rocky structures such as caves, rock fissures, and talus slopes. Rocky structures provide protection from predators and a thermally moderated environment for rearing young and caching food items. Because of their strict habitat affinities, woodrat populations generally demonstrate metapopulation characteristics with a series of small population organized around disjunct rock structures, connected with limited gene flow. Over the last 30 years, Allegheny woodrat populations have declined dramatically throughout their range. A number of hypotheses have been proposed as causes for these range-wide declines including: 1) habitat fragmentation, 2) reduction in food resources, 3) fatal exposure to the parasitic raccoon roundworm, Baylisascaris procyonis, and 4) inbreeding depression. Despite protection as an endangered species since 1984, the pattern of population decline and range contraction has been repeated for Allegheny woodrats in Indiana. Populations have recently plummeted, declining by > 50% over the last 15 years. While the reasons for woodrat declines in Indiana remain unclear, some combination of factors contributing to the range-wide decline is likely driving local population dynamics. We are working to address the contribution of these competing hypotheses to the population dynamics of Indiana's woodrat population through detailed genetic analyses of this metapopulation.

Captive breeding: Despite a recent numeric recovery of Indiana Allegheny woodrat populations in response in part to ongoing management efforts, the future persistence of these woodrat populations remains imperiled due to a lack of genetic diversity. To address this threat we have initiated a captive breeding program. In this program we are using optimized mate pairings of individuals collected from geographically isolated and genetically disparate populations within Indiana as well as individuals from genetically and numerically robust populations in Pennsylvania. Following captive propagation we intend to evaluate 2 release strategies: 1) the release of fully independent captively reared offspring and 2) the release of family groups composed of semi-independent offspring and their mother. We will be using radio telemetry, population monitoring in the form of live-trapping, and genetic analysis to determine the response of the recipient populations to the release of these captively reared individuals.

Funding Source: Indiana Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Diversity Section, The Nature Conservancy, Purdue University

Personnel: Tim Smyser, Jenny Fike


Smyser, T.J., O.E. Rhodes, Jr. 2008. Genetic Conservation and Management. Pages 153-168 in The Allegheny woodrat: Ecology, conservation and management of a declining species. J.D. Peles and J. Wright eds. Springer-Verlag, New York.

Collaborators: S. Johnson, K. Smith, A. Pursell


Populations Genetics Simulations

In addition to the many empirical population genetics studies done in the Rhodes' lab, we also have made use of simulated data in order to evaluate questions of analysis methods. To assess the utility of SNPs in the determination of genetic relationships, a Monte Carlo simulation of 100 independently segregating SNPs was performed. In another simulation experiment, the performance of three widely used Bayesian clustering algorithms was tested at low levels of FST. See the papers below for detailed information on each of these studies.

Personnel: Emily Latch, Guha Dharmarajan, Jeff Glaubitz


Glaubitz, J.C., O.E. Rhodes, Jr., and J.A. DeWoody. 2003. Prospects for inferring pairwise relationships with single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP's). Molecular Ecology. 12:1039-1047.

Latch, E.K., Dharmarajan, G., J.C. Glaubitz and O.E. Rhodes, Jr. 2006. Relative performance of Bayesian clusterin software at low levels of population differentiation. Conservation Genetics. 7:295-302.

Collaborators: J.A. DeWoody


Highway project

Cecilia weighing a raccoonCecilia weighing a raccoon.
Photo: Jami MacNeil

The interstate highway project is an attempt to determine the extent to which interstate highways are barriers to movement for five terrestrial mammal species (Eastern chipmunk, gray squirrel, fox squirrel, Virginia opossum, and raccoon). Five species are included to investigate animal movement in detail, since these species tend to experience different levels of inhibition in crossing roads. In coordination with another research group on campus (Pat Zollner and his graduate students), the project integrates radiotelemetry information with population genetic tools in an attempt to quantify the effect of the interstate highway as a barrier to animal movement. The use of both genetic and radiotelemetry data will help us determine if population genetic data is providing accurate information regarding barriers to animal movement, while simultaneously testing the ability of radiotelemetry data to predict effects of movement on population genetics. Study sites are divided by interstate highways and are located in southern and central Indiana. The results of this project will be used to help interstate highway managers make better decisions regarding road construction and maintenance.

Funding Sources: Indiana Department of Transportation, Purdue University

Personnel: Cecilia Hennessy, Guha Dharmarajan

Collaborators: Patrick Zollner, Tricia Chia-Chun, Matt Beard


Virginia Opossum Ecology and Genetics

Virginia opossum photoVirginia opossum. Photo: Jim Beasley

The Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana) is a generalist in every sense of the word, and over the past century, has thrived in Midwestern landscapes transformed by agriculture. However, opossum populations in local areas are highly dynamic due to apparently high mortality in young of the year and the seemingly transient movements of adults. Experimental data indicate opossums are excellent scavengers, and this species is thought to have limited predators in the Midwest. Thus, it is unclear how potential limiting factors such as food availability, interspecific competition, and predation influence the movement behavior and population structure of this species in agricultural landscapes.

This project will operate in close conjunction with an on-going study focusing on raccoon ecology. Primary goals of this project are to 1) examine movement patterns and habitat selection in opossums in a fragmented agricultural landscape 2) identify patterns of local and landscape level genetic structure in Indiana and 3) identify the primary sources of mortality of opossums in northern Indiana.

Personnel: William Beatty, Jim Beasley, Zach Olson, Guha Dharmarajan

Box Turtles

Steve with turtle photo

The Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina) is a long-lived reptile native to forested regions across the eastern United States. Declines in box turtles populations are occurring across the country, for reasons that likely include habitat loss and degradation, illegal collection for the pet trade, and roadway mortality.

An important step towards developing management strategies to reverse population decline is the understanding of population genetic structure. This information can quantify genetic variation, identify traces of population bottlenecks, and inform management policies.

Developing population-specific markers can also empower state authorities to enforce laws intended to protect species of special concern from commercial exploitation.


1.Determine genetic population and variation at local, state (Indiana), and regional (Midwest) scales.

2.Identify molecular markers that can be used to determine a box turtle’s origin of population.

Personnel: Steve Kimble

Collaborators: R. Williams, B. MacGowan, K. Smith


Wild Turkey

Wild Turkey photoWild Turkey. Photo: Sara Anderson

Despite the overwhelming success of wild turkey restoration in North America, primarily due to translocation efforts, the genetic implications of turkey translocations are poorly understood and bring into question both taxonomic integrity and the genetic relationships among populations in a region. Advances in molecular genetics have given us tools to address these sorts of questions in wildlife species. We developed a suite of molecular markers for use in wild turkeys, and assessed their relative utility at levels of biological organization most meaningful to wildlife managers (individual, population, and subspecies). I then was involved in a number of projects involving genetics of wild turkey populations, including translocation-oriented questions such as the degree to which genetic signatures are retained in translocated populations, taxonomic-based questions concerning rangewide subspecies differentiation and hybridization among subspecies, and questions related to the genetic effects of social structure in the wild turkey.

Personnel: Emily Latch, Jenny Fike


Rhodes, O.E., Jr., D.J. Bufond, M. Miller, and R.S. Lutz. 1995. Genetic structure of reintroduced Rio Grande turkeys in Kansas. Journal of Wildlife Management. 59:771-775.

Boone, M.D., and O.E. Rhodes, Jr. 1996. Genetic structure among subpoulations of the eastern wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris). American Midland Naturalist. 135:168-171.

Mock, K.E., T.C. Theimer, B.F. Wakeling, O.E. Rhodes, Jr., D.L. Greenberg, and P. Keim. 2001. Verifying the origins of a reintroduced population of Gould's wild turkey. Journal of Wildlife Management. 65:871-879.

Mock, K.E., T.C. Theimer, O.E. Rhodes, Jr., D.L. Greenberg, and P. Keim. 2002. Genetic variation across the historical range of the wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo). Molecular Ecology. 11:643-657.

Latch, E. K., E. J. Smith, and O. E. Rhodes, Jr. 2002. Isolation and characterization of microsatellite loci in wild and domestic turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo). Molecular Ecology Notes 2(2): 176-178.

Mock, K. E., E. K. Latch, and O. E. Rhodes, Jr. 2004. Assessing losses of genetic diversity due to translocation: long-term case histories in Merriam's turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo merriami). Conservation Genetics. 5:631-645.

Latch, E. K. L.A. Harveson, J.S. King, M.D. Hobson and O. E. Rhodes, Jr. 2006. Assessing hybridization in wildlife populations using molecular markers: A case study in wild turkeys. Journal of Wildlife Management. 70:485-492.

Latch, E. K. and O. E. Rhodes, Jr. 2005. The effects of gene flow and population isolation on the genetic structure of reintroduced wild turkey populations: Are genetic signatures of source populations retained? Conservation Genetics. 6:981-997.

Latch, E. K. and O. E. Rhodes, Jr. 2006. Evidence for seasonal variation in local genetic structure in the wild turkey. Animal Conservation. 9:308-315.

Latch, E. K. 2004. Population genetics of reintroduced wild turkeys: Insights into hybridization, gene flow, and social structure. Ph.D. dissertation.

Latch, E.K., R.D. Applegate, and O.E. Rhodes, Jr. 2006. Genetic composition of wild turkeys in Kansas following decades of translocation. Journal of Wildlife Management. 70:1698-1703.

Latch, E. K. and O. E. Rhodes, Jr. 2007. Utility of molecular markers for wild turkey management. Pages 33-44 in Proceedings of the 9th National Wild Turkey Symposium, A. Stewart, ed., Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Guan, X., P. Silva, O. Ho-Shing, K.B. Geyenai, J. Xu, T. Geng, Z. Tu, D.C. Samuels, O.E. Rhodes, Jr., and E.J. Smith. 2008. The mitochondrial genome sequence and molecular phylogeny of the turkey. Animal Genetics (In Press).

Collaborators: Karen Mock, Steve Backs, Roger Applegate, Louis Harveson, Shane King, B.F. Wakeling



Elk photoElk photo by Jim Beasley

Restoration programs have relocated small groups of Rocky Mountain elk throughout the United States and are still ongoing. A common theme of most restocking programs, despite diversity in stocking strategies among state agencies, is that in most cases the majority of relocated elk are descendents of the Yellowstone herd. In most instances we know nothing of the genetic diversity that has been captured and preserved in restocked elk populations in North America. The problem with this pattern of events is that we cannot predict how the viability of elk populations restored in this manner will be impacted in the future as levels of inbreeding begin to rise simply because animals within and among herds all share a large proportion of the same ancestral genes. Tule elk and numerous reintroduced populations of Rocky Mountain elk originating from Yellowstone National Park all potentially suffer from losses of genetic diversity due to founder effects and genetic drift. This research program is focused on the elucidation of the nature and extent of genetic problems associated with elk reintroductions.

Funding Source: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Purdue University

Personnel: Christen Williams, Jenny Fike


Williams, C.L., T.L. Serfass, R. Cogan, and O.E. Rhodes, Jr. 2002. Microsatellite variation in the reintroduced Pennsylvania elk herd. Molecular Ecology 11:1299-1310.

Williams, C.L., B. Lundrigan, and O.E. Rhodes, Jr. 2003. Analysis of microsatellite variation in tule elk. Journal of Wildlife Management. 68:109-119.

Hicks, J.F., J.L Rachlow, O.E. Rhodes, Jr., C.L. Williams and L.P. Waits. 2006. Reintroduction and genetic structure: Rocky Mountain elk in Yellowstone and the western states. Journal of Mammalogy. 88:129-138.

Collaborators: C. L. Williams, T. L. Serfass, J. Larkin, D. Maehr, J. Gassett, B. Lundrigan, J.F. Hicks, J.L. Rachlow, L.P. Waits



Pronghorn photoPronghorn antelope. NPS Photo

We use a variety of theoretical and empirical methods to refine the manner in which species of conservation priority are managed. Conservation programs require both sound conceptual models for predicting the losses of genetic diversity expected to occur in declining populations as well as empirical data for use in assessing the gene dynamics and taxonomic status of declining species. Disappointingly, genetic information is available for very few threatened or endangered species and in many cases, genetic investigations of such species must incorporate everything from the development of appropriate DNA-based markers to extensive surveys of genetic variance in all remaining populations. The objective of this line of research is to provide the necessary DNA-based markers and laboratory analyses required to construct recovery plans for species of conservation priority and, to develop conceptual models for use in predicting the gene dynamics of declining populations. The Rhodes lab has been working on North American pronghorn populations since 1996 and has performed research on taxonomic and population genetic questions pertaining to the critically endangered Sonoran pronghorn as well as on reintroduced populations in Arizona and Oregon.

Funding Source: Arizona Game and Fish, Umatilla Army Depot

Personnel: Catherine Malone, Lindsey Cox, Emily Latch, Erin Reat


Reat, E.P., O.E. Rhodes, Jr., J.R. Heffelfinger, and J.C. deVos, Jr. 1999. Regional genetic differentiation in Arizona pronghorn. Proceedings of the 18th Biennial Pronghorn Antelope Workshop 18: 25-31.

Rhodes, O.E. Jr., R.N. Williams, J.R. Heffelfinger, L.K. Page, E.P. Reat, and J.C. deVos, Jr. 1999. Genetic variation in pronghorn antelope from Arizona. Proceedings of the 18th Biennial Pronghorn Antelope Workshop 18:53-63.

Rhodes, O.E., Jr., E.P. Reat. J.R. Heffelfinger, and J.C. deVos, Jr. 2001. Analysis of reintroduced pronghorn populations in Arizona using mitochondrial DNA markers. Proceedings of the 19th Biennial Pronghorn Antelope Workshop 19:45-54.

Malone, C. L., J. C. deVos, Jr., J. R. Heffelfinger, and O. E. Rhodes, Jr. 2004. Genetic distinction of the Sonoran pronghorn. Proceedings of the 20th Biennial Pronghorn Antelope Workshop. 20:72-83.

Stephen, C.L., J.C. deVos, Jr., T.E. Lee, Jr., J.W. Bickham, J.R. Heffelfinger, and O.E. Rhodes, Jr. 2005. Population genetic analysis of Sonoran pronghorn (Antilocarpra americana sonoriensis). Journal of Mammalogy. 86:782-792.

Stephen, C.L., D.G. Whittaker, G. Gillis, L.L. Cox and O.E. Rhodes, Jr. 2005. Genetic consequences of reintroductions: an example from pronghorn antelope in Oregon. Journal of Wildlife Management. 69:1463-1474.

Collaborators: J. C. deVos, Jr., J.R. Heffelfinger, D.G. Whittaker, T.E. Lee, J.W. Bickham


Lake Sturgeon

Lake sturgeon photoAndrea and a Lake Sturgeon.

In this research we performed a genetic analysis of the White River Lake Sturgeon population using both mitochondrial and nuclear markers. The purpose of this research was to clarify the genetic status of this population in terms of its distinctness and intrapopulation variability relative to populations in the region that might serve as sources for reintroduction programs in the Ohio River drainage and associated watersheds. The general objectives of this research are to: 1) Assess the genetic uniqueness of the White River Lake Sturgeon population in comparison to other Lake Sturgeon populations in the region and potential hatchery sources, 2) Assess the level of genetic diversity within and among individuals in the White River Lake Sturgeon population in comparison to other Lake Sturgeon populations in the region and potential hatchery sources, and 3) Assess the maintenance of genetic diversity of reintroduced sturgeon populations in selected watersheds in the Midwest with special consideration of numbers transplanted and time since reintroduction.

Funding Source: Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Purdue University

Personnel: Andrea Drauch, Jenny Fike, Emily Latch


Drauch, A.M., B.E. Fisher, and O.E. Rhodes, Jr. 2006. Success of lake sturgeon reintroduction programs in the Mississippi and Missouri River drainages. North American Journal of Fisheries Management. 27:434-472.

Drauch, A.M., B.E. Fisher, E.K. Latch, J.A. Fike, and O.E. Rhodes, Jr. Evaluation of a remnant lake sturgeon population's utility as a source for reintroductions into the Ohio River system. Conservation Genetics. (In Press)

Collaborators: B. Fisher, K. Smith


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