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Master of Science




Dr. Nusha Keyghobadi


The population genetic structure of the pitcher plant mosquito (Wyeomyia smithii Coquillett 1901) provides insight into its dispersal patterns and behaviour. I developed a suite of 117 amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers for W. smithii and, using larvae collected from purple pitcher plants in Algonquin Provincial Park (Ontario, Canada), I studied the population genetic structure of the mosquito across multiple spatial scales. At the finest scale I examined genetic differentiation among samples from different leaves within a single plant, and at the largest scale I examined differentiation among samples from groups of peatlands ~ 26 km apart. Samples from different peatlands, even distant ones, displayed low genetic differentiation, suggesting the mosquito disperses widely among peatlands in a landscape. Significant genetic differentiation among leaves within plants was associated with high relatedness of larvae occurring in the same leaf, suggesting that females lay their eggs in clumps.

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