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October 22, 2020

5:00pm Discord

EcoEvoPub Seminar Series
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCLA

" Graduate Student Presentations "

Yeraldi Loera

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCLA, Campbell-Staton Lab

“Evidence of Evolution in American Alligators (Alligator mississippiensis Affected by Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals”

In an increasingly polluted world, contaminants are disrupting biological function and may be eliciting evolutionary responses. The wildlife at Lake Apopka, Florida could possibly be experiencing this evolutionary pressure from a pesticide spill in the 1980s. The released organochlorine pesticides are persistent organic contaminants that function as endocrine disrupting chemicals. These endocrine disruptors are known to affect steroidal hormone levels, resulting in the dysregulation of reproductive development. Exposed populations of American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) at Lake Apopka consequently display widespread aberrant sexual development and maturation. Recent work has also highlighted abnormal changes in gene expression in this population. Specifically, exposed alligators exhibit an incomplete recapitulation to normal transcriptional profiles by follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), an essential signalling molecule for sexual maturity and reproductive function. Whether selection has acted on this response to FSH rescue remains unexplored. This study will investigate the role of endocrine disrupting chemicals on the evolution of adaptive resistance via changes to FSH responses in the exposed alligator population of Lake Apopka, Florida. Towards this end, I will quantify changes in gene expression and describe the affected genetic regulatory networks associated with responses to FSH to identify the potential mechanisms of adaptation for resistance in the population. Uncovering the signatures of selection on the variation in plasticity for these transcriptional traits can ultimately aid in understanding the nature of adaptive responses to contaminants and their impacts on evolutionary trajectories.


Rachel Turba

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCLA, Jacobs Lab


Kuhn, the scientific revolutions… and all shades of grey in between


How do you view science? Do you see it as an enterprise that slowly builds up towards progress, brick by brick? Do you see it as a machine that uses objective tools to approach the Truth? Well, let’s look at it again. In his revolutionary book, Kuhn shows us that there is more to science than meets the eye, and through an historical perspective, a more turbulent picture arises. And if that is already not enough for you, if we have time, we can expand it a bit further and problematize what Kuhn believes are the constitutive values of science, and add all shades of grey to this complex endeavor that we call Science.

Thursday, October 22nd, 2020 @ 5 PM