Date of Award

Winter 2008

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Marianne K Litvaitis

Second Advisor

James F Haney


Identification of freshwater calanoid and cyclopoid copepods is limited to adults of certain sexes because morphological keys are mostly based on mature reproductive structures, necessitating an alternate method. Genetic barcodes are an additional tool for distinguishing species using variation in short segments of DNA. I tested the utility of the 28S rDNA D3 expansion segment as a barcode for identifying five species of calanoids and five species of cyclopoids from multiple lakes from New England. Neighbor-joining trees grouped all conspecifics together with high bootstrap support, except for Leptodiaptomus minutus. Comparisons of intra- vs. interspecific variation revealed a barcode gap for both calanoids and cyclopoids. Fifty characteristic attributes (CAs) were identified that separate specimens from ordinal to specific levels. Overall, the barcode shows promise as an alternate identification tool for freshwater calanoids and cyclopoids and future research should evaluate the barcode for more species over a wider geographic range.