Princess S. Gilbert
A major problem currently plaguing fish systematics is that of the relationships of
the major Acanthomorpha lineage. Acanthomorph fishes represent roughly 60% of all extant fish diversity (Dettai et al. 2005). Seeing as though Teleost fishes account for nearly half of all vertebrate species (Santini et al. 2009) and acanthomorphs describe a large amount of those remaining relationships (roughly one-third), the uncertainty and low support for the clades which make up this diverse group are problematic due to the far reaching implications of incorrect conclusions. Without resolution of these major evolutionary relationships, many inferences regarding the last 122-151 million years of fish evolution could be inaccurate.
For my dissertation I will seek to find appropriately slow evolving regions of the genome that are congruent among the entire acanthomorpha group. These markers will be tested for their utility by profiling their phylogenetic informativeness (PI), a metric designed by Jeffery Townsend in 2007. To determine the effectiveness of our approach over traditional single gene approaches, the phylogenetic informativeness of our marker suite will be compared to ten commonly used markers in Ichthyology.
Chapter two will seek to build a robust phylogeny of the major evolutionary lineages in Acanthomorpha using the 499 UCEs designed in chapter one.
Chapter three will seek to answer questions about the diversification patterns within Acanthomorpha by modeling evolutionary diversification using stepwise AIC.
2012 UCLA Masters of Science Evolutionary Biology
2007 UCLA Bachelors of Science Biology