Graduation Date

Fall 2016

Document Type



Master of Science degree with a major in Natural Resources, option Wildlife

Committee Chair Name

William "Tim" Bean

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Andrew Kinziger

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Daniel Barton

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff


Movement ecology and dispersal are important aspects of species’ life histories that can inform conservation and management. Dispersal is often cryptic and difficult to detect, but recent advances genetic technology and applications have provided new approaches to identifying and describing dispersal patterns. Giant kangaroo rats (Dipodomys ingens) are an endangered heteromyid that appear to persist in small subpopulations in a heterogeneous environment of their northern range, the Ciervo-Panoche Natural Area, California. Previous work suggested high levels of genetic diversity between populations with genetic distances not being correlated to geographic distances. Here, I identified landscape population structure through clustering programs STRUCTURE and TESS, as well as a Moran Eigenvector Map. I identified straight-line geographic distance between related individuals using the program COLONY. Finally, I evaluated parameterization and combinations of hypothesized costs created from precipitation, slope, vegetation, and roads for Isolation by Resistance and least cost path using mantel and partial mantel tests. TESS and STRUCTURE identified 3-4 subpopulations, but this structure is most likely due to Isolation by Distance effects. I identified a full-sibling pair 5.52km apart. The best model suggested that straight-line geographic distance as well as slopes greater than 10 degrees negatively influenced dispersal. Conservation and de-listing of giant kangaroo rats will be dependent on habitat protection and creation rather than corridor protection.

Citation Style

Journal of Molecular Ecology