March 15 2018

5:00 pm 1100 TLSB

EcoEvoPub Series

Graduate Student Presentations


Devaughn Fraser
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCLA

"An Evaluation of Environmental Stressors Associated with Urban and Agricultural Land Use on Bobcats, Mule Deer, and Bats in California"

Human land use is responsible for global declines in biodiversity, primarily through the loss, fragmentation and degradation of natural habitat. Urban development and agriculture are the two most important forms of land use change causing species imperilment in the US, both of which are strongly associated with additional environmental stressors such as pesticides and movement barriers. Socially, economically and ecologically important species are often affected negatively, and thus, priority should be placed on evaluating how land use affects natural populations. This research focuses on three distinct systems to identify the effects of habitat fragmentation and chemical pollutants on wildlife, including 1) the physiological effects of persistent anticoagulant rodenticide exposure on bobcats in the Santa Monica Mountains and Simi Hills near Los Angeles, CA; 2) the effect of highways on gene flow in mule deer occupying various open spaces separated by intervening highways and characterized by varying degrees of urban development; and 3) the influence of pesticide use on resource selection and dietary diversity in big brown bats in an intensively managed agricultural landscape.

Tiffany Armenta
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCLA

"Gene expression shifts in response to complex environmental stressors in a wild population of yellow-bellied marmots (Marmota flaviventer)"

Gene expression is an important mechanism that allows organisms to adapt to environmental challenges. Recent advances in genomic tools indicate external stressors can induce transcriptional shifts in a wide variety of genes and that specific transcriptional responses are often highly conserved across taxa. However, this work has largely been done in controlled laboratory settings and it is important to understand how gene expression shifts in wild populations, where natural selection operates. My dissertation aimed to evaluate how wild animals respond to environmental stressors on the molecular level using yellow-bellied marmots \(Marmota flaviventer\) as a model system. In my first chapter, I evaluated the impact of social relationships on gene expression variation in this facultatively social species. In my second chapter, I examined the transcriptional response to predator pressure in this prey species. Finally, my third chapter identified gene expression differences in young marmots as they prepared to disperse from their natal colony. This work discovered novel physiological responses to these complex stimuli and demonstrated the ability to study the cellular response to stressors in natural populations.

Thursday, March 15, 2018
1100 Terasaki Life Sciences Building















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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