he Mississippi River watershed, including the Missouri River tributary, is the fourth largest watershed in the world. This watershed has undergone dramatic ecological changes in the past century as a result of human activity including channelization, the construction of dams, removal of natural formations and agricultural discharge. One of the major limitations for genetic studies in this region is a lack of a genetic database for general comparison.
GoalsThe major goal of this project is to provide genetic resources for native species throughout the Mississippi River Basin to facilitate future research interests including eDNA, diet composition, and restoration efforts.
The stability of mitochondrial genomes in addition to their high mutation rate and relatively low number of genes make mitochondrial genomes ideal markers to begin addressing some of the evolutionary questions and conservation concerns of native species in the Mississippi River Basin. This project had a focus toward native-fish genomes in Nebraska. Thus far, we have sequenced the mitochondrial genomes of 61 native fishes.
In addition to native fish mitochondrial genomes, the Northern Long Eared Bat was also sequenced to showcase the functionality of mitochondrial genomes across diverse taxa. The Northern Long Eared Bat was chosen as a representative species because it has experienced significant population declines as a result of White-nose Syndrome, an emerging disease caused by a white psychrophylic fungus that prematurely depletes fat reserves in hibernating bats and ultimately results in death.
Principal Investigator(s)-Kevin L. Pope
-Sarah J. Gaughan