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Title: Phenotypic plasticity and population genetic structure in a wild vertebrate population
Author: Nussey, Daniel H.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2005
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My thesis focuses on maternal phenotypic plasticity in two neonatal traits and population genetic structure at different spatial scales in a wild red deer (Cervus elaphus) population on the Isle of Rum, Scotland. Specifically, I present: • An analysis of offspring birth weight-spring temperature plasticity in female red deer using linear regression to measure individual reaction norms. I found evidence of variation in plasticity between females and show that early experiences of high population density reduce female plasticity. • The description of a mixed-effects linear model approach to analysing phenotypic plasticity from a reaction norm perspective, and application of this model to birth date in the Rum deer population. I use the model to examine variation in phenotypic plasticity between females and selection on plasticity at different population density levels. • An examination of population history and structure in red deer from across the Isle of Rum using mitochondria) DNA and microsatellite markers. Analysis revealed that deer in this introduced population came from geographically isolated ancestral populations, and there was genetic evidence for strongly male-biased dispersal. Recent management practices on the island may have led to spatial variation in effective male dispersal on Rum. • A comparison of fine-scale spatial genetic structure between male and female deer in the North Block study area using microsatellite markers and census data. There was evidence of structure at extremely fine spatial scales amongst females but not males, and a decline in the structure amongst females over time. • An analysis of the spatial distribution of different mtDNA haplotypes in male and female red deer across the North Block. There was evidence for spatial structuring of haplotypes in both sexes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available