September 28 2009

12:00 LSB 2320

Michael Sorensen
Department of Biology, Boston University

Phylogenetic Perspectives on Speciation and Host-specific Adaptation in Obligate Brood Parasites


Avian brood parasites have provided evolutionary biologists with some of the clearest examples of reciprocal coevolution, cases in which hosts evolve defenses against their parasites and parasites in turn evolve to evade those defenses. It has been suggested that this coevolutionary process may be an engine for speciation in parasitic birds and this idea has been tested in phylogenetic and population genetic analyses. Dr. Sorenson will review recent results for brood parasitic cuckoos, honeyguides, and parasitic finches, highlighting the ways in which differences in social behavior lead to different consequences for speciation. Results for greater honeyguides parallel previous work on cuckoos and reprise a longstanding and unsolved puzzle in evolutionary genetics, how host specific adaptations can be maintained within a single species of parasite.















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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