M.S. Defense - Tani Wright - Event Details

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M.S. Defense - Tani Wright

Location: Wentworth 14

The process of speciation and the mechanisms that contribute to reproductive isolation are a complex and contentious area of study. Incomplete reproductive isolation is common in many species though the degree to which species can hybridize yet remain biologically distinct is largely understudied. The Hawaiian Drosophilidae is comprised of nearly 1000 species and is a well-known system for the study of reproductive isolation. The purpose of this study was to investigate the mechanisms that form and maintain reproductive isolation between two evolutionarily young and little studied species, D. sproati and D. murphyi. Mechanisms of prezygotic and postzygotic reproductive isolation act to reduce gene flow between populations and are most important where species are sympatric. D. sproati and D. murphyi are found both in sympatric locations where the two species are common and in other locations where there is limited or no geographical overlap between the two species. This variation in the geographical distribution of these species may affect the chances that D. sproati and D. murphyi will interact creating a mosaic of hybridization across the Island of Hawaii. The level of hybridization and introgression between D. sproati and D. murphyi was examined with genetic analyses of 8 microsatellite loci. Courtship and reproductive experiments were conducted to investigate the degree of pre- and postzygotic barriers to reproduction. Structure and NewHybrids analyses of microsatellites suggest evidence of asymmetrical hybridization and introgression primarily in areas of sympatry. Pairwise Fst estimates indicate that D. sproati and D. murphyi are genetically distinct but corroborates evidence of hybridization at sympatric sites. Results from courtship and reproductive analyses also show a trend of asymmetrical hybridization. D. murphyi and D. sproati provide a unique opportunity to corroborate our understanding of the patterns and processes that shape diversification.

For more information, contact: hpoepoe@hawaii.edu 3-0791

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