Speaker: Sean Yap (Graduate Student, Dept. of Biological Sciences, NUS)
Date/Time: Thursday, 7 November 2019: 9.30am
Venue: S3-05-02, DBS Conference Room (S3 Level 5)
Supervisor : Dr Nalini Puniamoorthy
Southeast Asia is biodiversity rich, but the role of reproductive isolation via mechanisms of sexual selection remains largely unexplored. Here, we aim to investigate the potential role of sexual selection in reproductive diversification of dung beetles in SEA.
Dung beetles are an incredibly species rich group and provide key ecosystem services in forested and agricultural communities. Globally, these insects are excellent models to investigate speciation by sexual selection because most species and even populations might exhibit stark differences in pre- and postcopulatory sexual traits. However, little is known about reproductive diversification of dung beetles in SEA. There are incomplete records on regional biodiversity and little to no information about genetic structure among widespread populations and morphological variation within species, especially with respect to traits that might establish reproductive barriers to gene flow.
Thus, this research aims to address four complementary research questions to study reproductive evolution in local and regional dung beetle fauna, focusing on two main genera, Onthophagus and Catharsius:
- What are the morphological and molecular estimates of dung beetle biodiversity in the region?
- Is postcopulatory sexual selection driving incipient speciation in the Catharsius molossus species complex?
- Do widespread populations of Onthophagus species differ in sexual selection across SEA?
- Does nematode diversity and load increase with the intensity of sexual selection across species and populations?
All are welcome.