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Author/Editor: N. Sivasothi
Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore.

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Wed 15 Mar 2006

16 Mar 2006 - Monaghan on using DNA-based species to determine status of tropical insect faunas [seminar]

Category : bejc

Meetings of the NUS DBS Biodiversity & Ecology Journal Club

"Using DNA-based species discovery to examine the biodiversity and conservation status of tropical insect faunas"

Michael T. Monaghan
Division of Biology, Imperial College, London and Entomology Department, Natural History Museum, London

Thursday, 16th March 2006:
10.00 - 11.00 AM
DBS Conference Room

Blk S3, Level 5, Department of Biological Sciences
The National University of Singapore
Science Drive 4
Visitors may park at Carpark 10; See map

Host: Tran Anh Duc

About the Talk
Advances in high-throughput DNA sequencing and large-scale data analysis enable the study of whole communities and entire faunas both above (phylogenetic) and below (population-genetic) the level of species. These techniqies provide a means to study tropical biodiversity where an existing taxonomy is incomplete or absent.

Here we use mitochondrial and nuclear gene sequence data to examine the patterns of speciation and population subdivision of tropical mayflies (Ephemeroptera) and water beetles (Coleoptera) throughout Madagascar.

To date, we delimit > 280 putative species, of which ca. 70 have been previously described. Examined at the population level ( > 1600 mtDNA sequences), most lotic species are highly localized, suggesting that gene flow among streams is relatively restricted on evolutionary time scales. This is particularly true for a highly successful lineage (> 20 species) of mayflies that is endemic to Madagascar. In contrast, lentic species are much more widespread, resulting in broader geographical patterns of gene flow and speciation.

We suggest that evolutionary analyses using the growing genetic data sets will drastically improve our understanding of the taxonomy, evolution, and conservation status of freshwater insects in the very near future. This growing DNA taxonomy will provide short mtDNA sequences (“barcodes”) for the identification of all insect species in future.

About the speaker
Michael T. Monaghan is a research fellow at the Division of Biology at Imperial College London and at the Entomology Department of the Natural History Museum at London. His work has brought him to various parts of the world such as Madagascar, Tanzania, South Africa, Papua New Guinea, Switzerland and the U.S., sampling remote wilderness streams and large rivers.


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