Date of Award
Master of Science
Relationships within Planigalini have not been fully resolved in previous studies that employed only a few (1-3) genes. I employ a mutligene approach that has shown to be robust for other dasyurid tribes. An analysis was undertaken to assess relationships among the currently recognized Planigale species and two potentially new species from the Pilbara and Mount Tom Price regions of Western Australia. This study uses seven genes for phylogenetic estimation. An expanded dataset of mitochondrial 16S DNA sequences from across Australia was also analyzed to assess phylogeographic patterns in Planigale species. Internal nodes from concatenated and species tree analyses are not well supported. This group may be subject to ILS or past introgression; however more data are needed to differentiate between these phenomena. Results from individual genes do not agree on a single topology of relationships. The results from nuclear genes include strong support for internal nodes from protamine P1, but not beta fibrinogen intron 7 and inter-photoreceptor retinoid-binding protein. The mitochondrial gene analyses show few nodes as well supported, but agree that P. maculata and P. novaeguineae are sisters. The expanded 16S dataset agrees with previous work in that there are regional groupings of P. maculata haplotypes. Current ranges for planigale species are poorly documented and the entire genus warrants further investigation to determine whether there are more species than current taxonomy recognizes.
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