Biology ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 12-16-2025


Population genomic data are becoming an essential component of the best available science used by conservation professionals to make management decisions to preserve biodiversity in a rapidly changing world. The proliferation of high-throughput sequencing technologies has made generating genome scale data feasible for non-model organisms that are of conservation concern. In addition to applicability in conservation science, genomic data enable the exploration of basic questions related to species evolution. To that end, this body of research exemplifies the applied and basic utility of genomic data and is focused on two federally-protected minnows endemic to the Gila River basin, Loach Minnow (Tiaroga cobitis) and Spikedace (Meda fulgida). Through developing reference genome assemblies, I explore questions related to gene family expansion, structural variation and selection through a comparative framework. Further, I detail the range-wide population genomics of both species. Lastly, I explored how factors related to processes occurring over historical and ecological timescales act synergistically to influence contemporary patterns of genomic diversity in Spikedace. This dissertation provides a novel perspective on population dynamics and evolution of these fishes, and provides information required for data-driven conservation and management of two members of the native fish community within the Gila River basin.




Conservation genetics, bottleneck, endangered species, genetic drift, population genetics, runs of homozygosity

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Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Biology Department

First Committee Member (Chair)

Thomas F. Turner

Second Committee Member

Jeffrey Long

Third Committee Member

Kenneth Whitney

Fourth Committee Member

David Propst

Available for download on Tuesday, December 16, 2025

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