Genetic identification and phylogenetics of Lake Waccamaw endemic freshwater mussel species

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kristine Sommer (Creator)
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site:
Michael McCartney

Abstract: Approximately 70% of modern-day freshwater mussel species in North America are considered threatened, endangered, or recently extinct, and a large number of the non-extinct species are endemic to a narrow geographic range. Freshwater mussel conservation efforts have been limited by taxonomic ambiguity and morphologic convergence. Lake Waccamaw in southeastern North Carolina contains two endemic species, Lampsilis fullerkati and Elliptio waccamawensis, which share nearly identical shell morphologies. This convergence in shell morphology complicates conservation efforts. To provide an alternative means to discriminate them, I developed a Polymerase Chain Reaction-Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) assay for genetic identification. Genomic DNA was obtained using a non-lethal method of hemolymph extraction. DNA was amplified using 16S rRNA gene specific primers and digested with Hinf I, Ava II, and Hind III. However, only the banding patterns of Ava II and Hind III digestions were diagnostic for these species and were used to type 112 individuals. RFLP and DNA sequencing data revealed three individuals that had been misidentified based on morphology. In addition, phylogenetic analysis was used to assess the taxonomy and to test the status of these putative endemics. Mitochondrial 16S rRNA gene, cox1, and nad1 sequences were obtained from 109 individuals sampled from Lake Waccamaw, the adjacent Waccamaw River, and the Yadkin/Pee Dee, Little Pee Dee, and Lumber Rivers in the Pee Dee Drainage. Results from Bayesian analyses suggest the endemic status of both L. fullerkati and E. waccamawensis may need to be reconsidered. L. fullerkati is not phylogenetically distinct from Lampsilis radiata collected outside the lake, and E. waccamawensis groups with and is not genetically distinguishable from E. congaraea individuals from the Waccamaw River.

Additional Information

A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for the Degree of Masters of Science
Language: English
Date: 2009
Mussels--Effect of water pollution on--North Carolina--Lake Waccamaw, Mussels--Effect of pollution on--North Carolina--Lake Waccamaw, Mussels--North Carolina--Lake Waccamaw--Genetics
Mussels -- Effect of pollution on -- North Carolina -- Lake Waccamaw
Mussels -- Effect of water pollution on -- North Carolina -- Lake Waccamaw
Mussels -- North Carolina -- Lake Waccamaw -- Genetics

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