QE: Evolution of Phenotypic Plasticity in Butterflies (Shivam Bhardwaj , 16 April, 2pm)

Department of Biological Sciences, NUS
Qualifying Examination

Evolution of Phenotypic Plasticity in Butterflies
Speaker:         Shivam Bhardwaj (Graduate Student, Dept. of Biological Sciences, NUS)
Date:               16 April 2015, Thursday
Time:              2pm
Venue:            DBS Meeting Room (In General Office)
Supervisor:    Assoc Prof Antonia Monteiro
Abstract: –Phenotypic plasticity is the ability of an organism to change its phenotypic features in response to environmental cues. This property is often adaptive allowing each plastic form to have a higher fitness in its respective environment. Nutrition-dependent variation in horn sizes in male dung beetles, density-dependent coloration in grasshoppers, and seasonal variation of colour patterns in butterflies are some of the well-studied examples of phenotypic plasticity. All of the examples above have implicated changes to hormone titers as the molecular mediators of plasticity, but details on how the environment alters the development of the plastic traits are still only superficially understood in each of these systems. In addition, the roles of hormone receptors and their expression in tissues at critical stages of trait development have not been elucidated in detail for any system. Finally, it is not known how these complex and hormonally regulated plastic systems originated. I propose to investigate detailed mechanisms of variation in eyespot size and brightness plasticity in one species of Nymphalid butterfly, and investigate the multi-component origin of butterfly eyespot plasticity by performing a comparative study across Nymphalid butterflies.

All are welcome

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