Susan E. Masta

Date of Award

Winter 2-9-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Biology



Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 38 pages)


Pseudoscorpions -- Pacific Northwest -- Geographical distribution, Population genetics -- Pacific Northwest, Phylogeography -- Pacific Northwest




I used mitochondrial COI sequence data from forty one individuals to investigate phylogenetic relationships among populations of two morphologically similar species of the pseudoscorpion genus Apochthonius, A. minimus and A. occidentalis, in western Washington, Oregon, and northern California. My goal was to assess whether genetic structure in the two species was congruent with geography. Many plant and animal species in the Pacific Northwestern United States have shown patterns of genetic differentiation that follow both north-south and east-west trends, indicating that geologic and climatic events in the past separated populations to the extent that they became genetically differentiated. A distinct geographic pattern emerged within A. occidentalis, with at least one northern and two southern populations. A clade containing all A. minimus sequences was recovered. However, this clade falls within the larger clade of A. occidentalis, rendering A. occidentalis paraphyletic. Furthermore, the A. minimus sequences showed north-south geographic structuring within the clade. Population genetic analyses were performed based on geographic location within the Pacific Northwest. I found high genetic differentiation coupled with low gene flow between most populations, with the exception of the Portland and North Coast Range populations. These data suggest the presence of more than two species of Apochthonius in the Pacific Northwest.

Persistent Identifier