June 4 2015

5:00 pm 154 BSRB

EcoEvoPub Series

Graduate Student Presentations


Allison Fritts-Penniman
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCLA

“Genomic evidence for geographic and ecological isolation in a coral associated nudibranch”
Many marine species have highly dispersive larvae that can travel long distances via ocean currents. As such, there appear to be insufficient dispersal barriers in marine ecosystems to attribute the great diversity of species solely to speciation in geographic isolation. However, coral reefs provide many opportunities for diversification through ecological niche specialization. For example, corals often host other invertebrates and fishes in mutualistic or parasitic relationships. Symbiotic relationships are known to promote ecological speciation in insect-plant systems, but this process is relatively unexamined on coral reefs. Nudibranchs in the genus Phestilla live and feed upon specific coral hosts. Previous work demonstrates that host shifts have occurred and may be the mechanism for speciation. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to infer the exact circumstances of speciation after species have been reproductively isolated for some time. Instead we examine the processes influencing ongoing population divergence within one species, Phestilla minor, which lives on a variety of coral species in the genus Porites. SNP data from nudibranch specimens collected from common Porites hosts at multiple locations in Indonesia indicate a role for both geographic isolation and host specialization in genomic divergence and speciation.















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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