Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. T. Keith Philips (Director), Dr. Jarrett Johnson, Dr. Ajay Srivastava

Degree Program

Department of Biology

Degree Type

Master of Science


The monotypic cave carabid genus Darlingtonea is widely distributed along the eastern band of the Mississippian/Pennyroyal plateau in Kentucky and northern Tennessee. DNA sequence data from the mitochondrial gene cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) was collected from one to four individuals from 27 populations, and patterns of phylogeography and population structure were inferred from COI haplotypes. A hierarchical analysis of molecular variance found low nucleotide diversity within populations and statistically significant variation among geographically-defined groups tested based on two a priori hypotheses of structure. Population structure among five distinct genetic clusters identifies approximate locations of barriers to gene flow among closely grouped caves in the upper Rockcastle River drainage. Partial sequences of one mitochondrial (COI) and one nuclear (wingless) gene were gathered from 60 to 106 terminal taxa, including representatives of all five genera of cave trechines from Kentucky and Tennessee. Alignments were analyzed using maximum parsimony, Bayesian, and maximum likelihood methods of phylogenetic inference. Comparison of analyses demonstrates conflicting tree topologies among individual markers and different reconstruction methods. Despite a lack of consensus regarding genus-level relationships, most analyses supported each genus as natural (monophyletic) with the exception of Pseudanophthalmus


Biology | Other Ecology and Evolutionary Biology