Fri 19 Sep 2014: 10.00am @ DBS CR2 – Cros Emilie Sidonie on Diversification of Understorey Bird Species of Southeast Asia

Department of Biological Sciences, NUS
Qualifying Examination

“Diversification of Understorey Bird Species of Southeast Asia”

Cros Emilie Sidonie
Graduate Student,
Dept. of Biological Sciences
National University of Singapore

Fri 19 Sep 2014: 10.00am
DBS Conference Room 2 (S1 level 3, mezzanine)
Supervisor: Asst Prof Frank Rheindt

All are welcome

Abstract: –

The Sundaic region is recognised as one of the top 5 leading biodiversity hotspots. Because of its geographical complexity and the periodical connectivity of its landmasses due to sea level changes during Pleistocene glaciations, this region is particularly interesting for the study of diversification mechanisms.

Recent studies have shown complex patterns of genetic variation among populations of different landmasses in Sundaland, giving insight that some of those populations may in fact no longer experience gene flow between one another. The study of pattern of gene flow across landmasses in this region during the past ice-age is therefore a unique opportunity to better understand the differentiation and speciation mechanisms of Sundaic biota. Additionally, this region also shows the highest deforestation rate observed among tropical regions.

Habitat conversion reduces population sizes and connectivity between sub-populations. Singapore, which has gone through an extensive loss of natural habitat, is a particularly interesting location to study how habitat modification affects gene flow and connectivity within populations. Since understorey birds are very sensitive to habitat modifications, they are an ideal model to study diversification as well as the effect of habitat modification. To investigate intra- and inter-population genetic variation, we are using new molecular methodologies such as Restriction-site Associated DNA sequencing (RAD seq) methods, which provide high-resolution population-genomic data.

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