Population Genetic Analyses of the Baird's Pocket Gopher, Geomys breviceps
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The Baird?s pocket gopher (Geomys breviceps) is a solitary, fossorial rodent found throughout areas of Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. Research focusing on the population genetics of pocket gophers and other species with limited vagility and isolated populations is lacking. Through the use of mitochondrial and microsatellite data, a series of population genetic analyses were completed to better understand the population structure and gene flow among a series of G. breviceps localities. Pocket gophers were captured from five localities in the Brazos Valley and used in this study. Due to the lack of microsatellite loci available for G. breviceps, 10 loci were created for use in this study. Overall estimates from the population genetic analyses showed high levels of gene flow amongst nearby localities with decreasing levels as distance between localities increased. Findings suggest that 2-3 localities located within 2 km of each other function as one genetic cluster thus showing 3-4 total genetic clusters total in this study. Results also suggest that the Baird?s pocket gopher is capable of moving at least 2 km, but further analyses should be completed to better understand dispersal distance.