Kara Million

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences

Committee Chair

Bruce Stallsmith

Committee Member

Yong Wang

Committee Member

Luciano Matzkin


Etheostoma--Parasites, Darters (Fishes)--Parasites, Host-parasite relationships, Mill Creek (Williamson County and Davidson County Tenn.)


This study sought to investigate the parasite-host relationships between two darter assemblages and their gill parasite populations, and to compare the biodiversity present in both systems. Eight darter species were collected over the course of one year from two sites in Tennessee, Flat Creek and Mill Creek, and parasite counts were performed on all sample populations. Parasite loads were compared across darter species in each site to determine whether infection levels differed significantly between host species. Phylogenetic trees containing mitochondrial and nuclear markers were constructed for each set of organisms using Bayesian analysis, and the trees were examined for congruence between parasite and host phylogenies. The detection of coevolution in a parasite-host system through molecular techniques can set the groundwork for further study into the exact nature of the relationship between parasite and host, the levels of biodiversity in the systems, and the principles that govern the way organisms coevolve.



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