The relationships among species in the genus Rhyncospora, a member of the flowering plant family Cyperaceae, are of value to study as they are essential plant components to our ecosystem. Sedges are necessary for wetland preservation, land-sea barriers, and in many cases serve as a natural water detoxifier. Rhyncospora is a prime genus to ask questions about their phylogeny because their evolutionary history is poorly understood for them to be so prevalent. To understand the relationships between a specific group of sedges (genus Rhyncospora) I utilized nucleotide sequence data in a phylogenetic approach. Phylogenetics is the study of the evolutionary history of taxonomic groups of organisms. It compares groups and can be used for either phenotypes (physical characteristics) or genotypes (genetic makeup/characteristics). With various lab equipment and techniques, a series of steps were taken to amplify, purify, and ultimately align our data sequences. Wet lab approaches included the PCR, gel electrophoresis, and vacuum filtration purification. Computer assisted data analysis included manipulating FASTA nucleotide sequence, proofreading sequence electropherograms with Sequencher (a software program), and aligning all nucleotides via ClustalX. The final phylogenetic tree output showed differentiation and variation between the 22 DNA samples that were sequenced and amplified. Two main clusters were formed with two separate samples as outliers.

Semester/Year of Award

Fall 2019


Patrick J. Calie

Mentor Professional Affiliation

Biological Sciences

Access Options

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Biological Sciences