Publication Date

Summer 2018

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Jarrett Johnson (Director), T. Keith Philips, Scott Grubbs

Degree Program

Department of Biology

Degree Type

Master of Science


The upland (Pseudacris feriarum) and midland (P. triseriata) chorus frogs are closely related cryptic species that are best distinguished genetically. The distribution of these species within the Commonwealth of Kentucky has previously been defined by only a handful of genetic samples, making delineation of range limits for each species difficult. Accurate understanding of species distributions, and the genetic structure within them, are vitally important for conservation management of amphibian species. In this study, I have collected genetic samples from across the putative ranges of P. triseriata and P. feriarum in Kentucky and used next-generation sequencing technology to generate more fine-scale estimates of species ranges. The genetic data generated in this study support the delineation of two species in Kentucky, and the species assignments of all individuals and populations are in general concordance with the previously hypothesized species distributions. However, I have identified two previously unrecognized contact zones for these species and revealed areas of hybridization. By delineating species distributions and identifying potentially important regions of genetic admixture, this study will be informative to future conservation management and conservation genetic research of chorus frogs in Kentucky.


Ecology and Evolutionary Biology | Evolution | Genomics | Population Biology