Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. Diego Figueroa

Second Advisor

Dr. Richard Kline

Third Advisor

Dr. Karl Berg


In 2010, researchers observed an abrupt decline in nesting numbers of the Kemp’s ridley following 35 years of positive growth. In wake of this halt, and subsequent lowered nesting averages, evaluation of the genetic diversity of remaining individuals is relevant to investigate the plausibility of a genetic bottleneck, and determine the reproductive stability of the Kemp’s ridley.

Here, I evaluate the genetic diversity within a sampling of the Kemp’s ridleys on South Padre Island using two methods: targeting the mitochondrial control region and targeting the complete mitochondrial genome. Opportunistic samples were donated from juvenile ridleys on the East coast, and from adult ridleys along the northern Gulf of Mexico. Here, I present the first complete Kemp’s ridley mitochondrial genome and discuss the geographic distribution of haplotypes present within the current population. Finally, I compare the depth of analysis achieved via targeting the full genome or by the control region sequence.


Copyright 2017 Hilary R. Frandsen. All Rights Reserved.