Biology ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-4-2017


The circumboreal wolverine (Gulo gulo sp.) is ideal for studying responses to environmental perturbation in the North due to a history of persistence in glacial refugia and subsequent glacial recolonization. Wolverines are also excellent indicators of human influence on the environment due to their close association with remote areas and cold, snowy climes. Through the use of genetic tools (i.e., nuclear microsatellite loci and mitochondrial sequences), I examined population structure of wolverines in Alaska and western Canada to identify signatures of glacial refugia, bottlenecks, and distinctive populations, sex-biased dispersal, gene flow, and source and sink population dynamics. I identified genetic structuring and key source areas that may be vital in maintaining viable populations in the southern regions of the wolverine’s range. Through this research I have further elucidated the evolutionary history of wolverines and contributed to the conservation future of this elusive species.

Project Sponsors

University of New Mexico, Alaska Science Center




Gulo gulo luscus, phylogeography, glacial history, dispersal, sex-bias, source-sink dynamics

Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Biology Department

First Committee Member (Chair)

Joseph A. Cook

Second Committee Member

Michael J. Andersen

Third Committee Member

Jonathan L. Dunnum

Included in

Biology Commons