Graduation Date

Spring 2022

Document Type



Master of Science degree with a major in Biology

Committee Chair Name

Sean F. Craig

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Russell J. S. Orr

Second Committee Member Affiliation

Community Member or Outside Professional

Third Committee Member Name

Heidi Rutschow

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Fourth Committee Member Name

Jeffrey White

Fourth Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories



The phylum Bryozoa is an incredibly diverse group of marine invertebrates with a widespread global distribution that is well suited for evolutionary studies but whose phylogenetic relationships are still poorly understood. Although recent studies on bryozoan taxonomies and phylogenies have increased, there is still a lack of assessment of species found at shallow water (<1 m) to intertidal depths. In this study, I aimed to expand the taxonomic sampling and assessment of the phylogenetic diversity of cheilostome bryozoans along the California coastline by utilizing mitochondrial DNA as well as inferring potential correlations between species presence and dispersal range both within and between rocky outer coast and sheltered harbor habitats. Illumina high-throughput sequencing was used to produce mitogenomes for cheilostome bryozoan samples collected off rocks from two rocky intertidal sites and off settlement panels from two harbor sites. Phylogenetic analyses generated evolutionary hypotheses of species relationships alongside geographic mapping of their distribution. This study identified 15 distinct species that represent 10 different families to form the first comprehensive phylogeny for multiple bryozoan families in California across a total range of approximately 973 km of coastline. Three genetically distinct species were found at multiple sites that are separated by a combination of rocky shores and sandy beaches, which indicates that the dispersal range of these species are not limited by geographic barriers along the coast of California. These results provide a future opportunity for further integration of this data with the phylogenies generated in this study to examine more robust evolutionary hypotheses for the phylogenetic and geographic relationships of Californian bryozoan species.

Citation Style