Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2024

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair

Linda Raubeson

Second Committee Member

Dan Beck

Third Committee Member

Alison Scoville

Fourth Committee Member



Ranunculus triternatus, a rare endemic species of the Columbia River Gorge, faces conservation challenges due to its limited range and fragmented populations. This study assesses the genetic diversity of R. triternatus and compares it with its widespread congener, Ranunculus glaberrimus, using inter-primer binding site (iPBS) markers. Genetic data from 80 individuals across eight populations were analyzed using Nei’s genetic diversity, Shannon’s diversity index, and AMOVA. Results showed R. triternatus had higher genetic diversity than western populations of R. glaberrimus, with eastern populations of R. glaberrimus displaying greater diversity than western ones. PCA, UPGMA, and STRUCTURE analysis revealed genetic relationships and potential admixture between populations. Despite its restricted range, R. triternatus exhibited significant genetic resilience, suggesting genetic health is not the primary cause of its decline. Conservation efforts should focus on habitat protection and expansion. This study underscores the importance of genetic diversity in conservation planning and provides a foundation for future research on the genetic diversity and ecology of both Ranunculus species.

Available for download on Friday, July 03, 2026