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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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Mon 20 Mar 2006

23 Mar 2006 - Bickford on Parental Care in the Microhylid Frogs of New Guinea [seminar]

Category : bejc

"The Ecology and Evolution of Parental Care in the Microhylid Frogs of New Guinea"

David P. Bickford
Department of Biological Sciences
National University of Singapore

Thursday, 23rd March 2006: 10-11 AM
Seminar Room 4
, Blk S2, Level 2, Department of Biological Sciences, The National University of Singapore, Science Drive 4
Visitors may park at Carpark 10

See map

Host: Navjot Sodhi

About the Talk
I studied the evolutionary relationships and parental care behaviors of an assemblage of microhylid frogs from a mid-elevation site in Papua New Guinea. The microhylid frogs of New Guinea are an exceptionally diverse radiation of frogs (>180 species in > 20 Genera) on the World's largest tropical island. Two new parental care behaviors for male frogs (froglet attendance and froglet transport) are described and quantified and six ecological guilds are defined to better understand variation in parental care behaviors across species.

I discuss the functions and importance of parental care in adaptive suites at the guild level. Results from adult removal experiments for clutches of two species (one terrestrial and one arboreal breeder) confirm that attendance significantly increases offspring survivorship. I show how the proximate causes of mortality in unattended clutches most likely reflect diverse selective pressures acting on species in different microhabitats.

I also sequenced DNA (2481 base pairs from the 12S and 16S rRNA genes) to hypothesize the phylogeny of Papuan microhylid frogs. Results of phylogenetic analyses suggest that 1) currently recognized Papuan subfamilies, the Genyophryninae and the Asterophryinae are in need of serious revision, 2) currently recognized genera Austrochaperina, Callulops, Cophixalus, and Oreophryne are polyphyletic, 3) the previously proposed phylogenetic hypotheses are refuted. I discuss how specific parental care behaviors might have evolved in these frogs relative to ecological guilds.

About the Speaker
David P. Bickford is an evolutionary biologist with broad interests and a strong drive to conserve biodiversity. His research focuses on understanding adaptive radiations, tropical diversity, and the ecology and evolution of complex vertebrate systems (e.g., parental care, feeding, diet, and habitat-specific behavior).

David approaches questions from an organismal and evolutionary perspective and uses methods from behavioral ecology, comparative biology, biological inventory and monitoring, and molecular systematics. His current research deals with cryptic species and speciation, testing hypotheses about the latitudinal biodiversity gradient, and the adaptive radiation of microhylid frogs on New Guinea.

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