Hide and seek: investigation of biodiversity and distribution of cryptic duckweed species in Alberta

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Senevirathna, Kanishka Madushanka
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Biological Sciences
This thesis focused on the development of molecular tools to characterize the biogeographical distribution of two cryptic Lemna species suspected to be present in Alberta, Lemna turionifera and L. minor. I developed eight species‐specific primers for five morphologically similar Lemna species. Our preliminary data show L. minor is present in multiple wetlands in southern Alberta. Subsequently, I used genotyping-by-sequencing technology to study the population diversity of these cryptic Lemna species. Based on analyses of 103 samples at 16,007 single nucleotide polymorphism loci, I provide strong support for genetic diversity existing between L. minor and L. turionifera growing in Alberta. I found significant population differentiation in L. minor but no genetically distinct populations within L. turionifera. In summary, DNA barcoding allowed us to exclusively identify unknown specimens to species level. This study provides an example of using next generation sequencing methods to identify significant fine-scale population genetic variations.
Population genetics , Next-generation sequencing , DNA barcoding , Lemna turionifera , Lemna minor , cryptic Lemna species , Plant population genetics -- Alberta , Lemna -- Alberta -- Classification -- Molecular aspects , Lemna minor -- Alberta -- Classification -- Molecular aspects , Lemna -- Alberta -- Molecular genetics , Genomics -- Data processing , DNA fingerprinting of plants , Plant genome mapping , Nucleotide sequence -- Data processing , Dissertations, Academic