When and Who:
- Sept 8th, 3PM – Dr. Khara Grieger, NCSU. “Interdisciplinary Approaches to Foster Sustainability in Food and Agriculture Systems”
- Oct 20th, 3PM – Dr. John Bruno, UNC, Title:
“The role of temperature in regulating species interactions in the Galápagos upwelling system”
- Nov 3rd, 3 PM – Dr. Anne Yoder, Duke, Title: “Searching for hidden signals of reproductive isolation in Madagascar’s mouse lemurs”
- Abstract: Cryptic species are perplexing to speciation biologists because the indicators of their species diversity are hidden to the human eye. Such is the case with Madagascar’s mouse lemurs (genus, Microcebus). After two decades of intensive research effort into speciation patterns in Microcebus, we have a good understanding of their geographic distribution and phylogenetic diversity, though we know nothing about the biological processes that have generated and maintain this diversity. Our ongoing project focuses on a region of Madagascar that is ecologically heterogeneous and offers a unique opportunity for comparing diverged lineages that occur in patterns of both sympatry and allopatry. We aim to develop and apply a novel and generalizable approach for understanding speciation mechanisms in mouse lemurs specifically, and cryptic species radiations generally. Our project builds on current research that indicates that mouse lemurs probably experienced episodic bursts of lineage diversification consistent with the climatic cycles of the Pleistocene, with many of them having come into secondary sympatric overlap. To discover the processes that have driven and are maintaining lineage diversification we are developing a multidisciplinary approach that 1) includes the development of computational tools for identifying the magnitude, direction, and rate of gene flow among lineages, 2) an investigation of the roles that microhabitat fidelity, metabolic cycles, and sensory communication may play in driving prezygotic reproductive isolation (RI), and 3) the characterization of genomic architecture – from micro- to macro-variations – to investigate how this variation correlates with postzygotic RI. All research activities are tightly interwoven with educational outreach in both the U.S. and Madagascar.
- Nov 10th, 3PM – Dr. Miles Silman, Wake Forest University. “Natural and unnatural controls on biodiversity and ecosystem function in the Andes-Amazon”
- Abstract: The eastern slope of the Andes and adjacent Amazon are Earth’s highest biodiversity habitats and its longest ecological gradient, providing a testbed for understanding controls on biodiversity distribution and ecosystem function. It is also dynamic, with natural disturbances on all time scales, from mountain building to climate change and landslides, and unnatural disturbances due to rapidly small-scale gold mining, deforestation, defaunation, and anthropogenic climate change. This talk gives an overview of controls on biological diversity and forest ecosystem function in the Andes and western Amazon, focusing on a 3800m elevation gradient extending from the high Andes to Amazonian lowlands in SE Peru, and on ecosystem destruction and recovery due to an expanding gold rush on the Amazonian plain.