Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




This study aimed to determine the level of genetic variation across the continental-wide range of the wood frog, Rana sylvatica. Levels of genetic differentiation between sampled populations were investigated as was the possible locations of glacial refugia for this species. DNA microsatellites were used as the genetic marker. This study found significant genetic differentiation across the geographic range of Rana sylvatica that increased with geographic distance. In addition three likely glacial refugia, Alaska, New York and the southern Appalachians, were identified.

A subset of the populations used in the geographic range study was used to investigate the patterns at a regional scale including North Dakota, Minnesota and Manitoba. While glaciation and recolonization would be expected to play a major role in the patterns seen at the geographic range it was unclear if these forces would play such an important role at a smaller scale. Microsatellite DNA showed that while glaciation and recolonization were likely important in the establishment of populations it appears current geographical barriers, such as the Red River of the North, are keeping populations on either side genetically divergent.

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