Phylogeographic Analysis of Hellbender Populations in Tennessee and North Carolina

Principal Investigator: Dr. Michael Freake, Dept. of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Lee University, Cleveland , TN

This group has been conducting yearly surveys since 2004 in the Cherokee National Forest and Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina to determine the current distribution and viability of hellbender populations. They are also using 3 mitochondrial markers to estimate the level of genetic diversity of populations in the Tennessee Valley and identify patterns of genetic differentiation between populations. This is part of a phylogeographic analysis to provide information on historical colonization and dispersion, and will allow assigning populations to appropriate management units.


Looking for Hellbenders.
By Eric Cooper.