'Contemporary Morphological Evolution in Pupfish Refuge Populations' is focus of biology seminar Sept. 15

‘Contemporary Morphological Evolution in Pupfish Refuge Populations’ is focus of biology seminar Sept. 15

Dr. Michael Collyer of the Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology Department at Iowa State University, will speak at 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, in Room 313, O’Shaughnessy Science Hall. His talk is titled “Contemporary Morphological Evolution in Pupfish Refuge Populations. Come early for free “grub” at 2:45 p.m.

About Collyer’s presentation

North American pupfishes are renowned for their diversification in ecologically diverse desert aquatic habitats, their ability to survive harsh environmental conditions and their many conservation issues. Because of small ranges, high levels of endemism and the threats from the influence of humans on nature, most pupfishes receive state or federal protection, and are managed actively.

The creation of “refuge” populations is an often-used conservation strategy, providing a hedge against local extinctions. In this talk, Collyer presents an example of contemporary morphological evolution in a refuge population of the White Sands pupfish (Cyprinodon tularosa). He also examines whether this occurrence is unique for the White Sands pupfish or common in other pupfishes as well, based on an ecological morphology study with six related pupfish species.

Results from Collyer’s research demonstrate that pupfish morphological diversity is consistent with an ecological divergence model of evolution. These results are discussed with implications for establishing refuge populations as a conservation strategy.

Information on Collyer is available in the seminar display case on the second floor, Owens Science Hall.