You are here: Home News and Events Seminars Biology Fall 2019 "From tubeworms to oil spills on 73 oceanographic expeditions, Thank you Penn State!" and "Human-induced evolution in lemurs, lizards, and l'escargot"

"From tubeworms to oil spills on 73 oceanographic expeditions, Thank you Penn State!" and "Human-induced evolution in lemurs, lizards, and l'escargot"

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Speaker
Dr. Chuck Fisher & Alexis Sullivan, Graduate Student Penn State
When
27 August 2019 from 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM
Where
8 Mueller Lab
Host
Dept of Biology
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"Human-induced evolution in lemurs, lizards, and l'escargot"- Alexis Sullivan

 

Human behavior has directly or indirectly effected non-human morphological evolution in many ways, well beyond plant and animal domestication. Studies have documented rapid morphological trait change in a variety of non-human, non-domesticated species due to anthropogenic influences, including harvesting and predation pressures and habitat modification. Evidence exists of such processes extending as far back as ~50,000 years BP or earlier. My dissertation research uses an integrative approach to study the evolutionary process of non-human morphological adaptation in response to human behaviors in three different study systems: size-selective hunting of sifaka lemurs (Propithecus verreauxi) in Madagascar; introduction of an invasive predator of fence lizards (Sceloporus undulatus) in southeastern United States; and size-selective harvesting of conch (Strombus pugilis) in Panama. For all, I use both traditional caliper measurements and high-resolution 3D surface scans to quantify morphological changes over time and within-species morphological diversity. For a subset of the projects, I then apply genome sequencing and genome-wide association study methods to identify regions of the genome that underlie modern variation in the trait of interest. Finally, I use population genetic analyses to test whether the phenotype-associated loci are enriched for signatures of recent positive natural selection, consistent with the hypothesis of recent adaptive change for the trait of interest. When available, ancient DNA from dated materials in museum or archaeological collections can be used to directly identify rapid allele frequency changes over time. Together, these methods allow powerful insight into human's impact on the population history, biogeography, and evolutionary ecology of non-model organisms.