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Title:Ecological and evolutionary effects of dispersal on freshwater zooplankton
Author(s):Allen, Michael R.
Director of Research:Cáceres, Carla E.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Cáceres, Carla E.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Paige, Ken N.; Suarez, Andrew V.; Hughes, Kimberly A.
Department / Program:Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology
Discipline:Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
founder effect
Abstract:A recent focus on contemporary evolution and the connections between communities has sought to more closely integrate the fields of ecology and evolutionary biology. Studies of coevolutionary dynamics, life history evolution, and rapid local adaptation demonstrate that ecological circumstances can dictate evolutionary trajectories. Thus, variation in species identity, trait distributions, and genetic composition may be maintained among ecologically divergent habitats. New theories and hypotheses (e.g., metacommunity theory and the Monopolization hypothesis) have been developed to understand better the processes occurring in spatially structured environments and how the movement of individuals among habitats contributes to ecology and evolution at broader scales. As few empirical studies of these theories exist, this work seeks to further test these concepts. Spatial and temporal dispersal are the mechanisms that connect habitats to one another. Both processes allow organisms to leave conditions that are suboptimal or unfavorable, and enable colonization and invasion, species range expansion, and gene flow among populations. Freshwater zooplankton are aquatic crustaceans that typically develop resting stages as part of their life cycle. Their dormant propagules allow organisms to disperse both temporally and among habitats. Additionally, because a number of species are cyclically parthenogenetic, they make excellent model organisms for studying evolutionary questions in a controlled environment. Here, I use freshwater zooplankton communities as model systems to explore the mechanisms and consequences of dispersal and to test these nascent theories on the influence of spatial structure in natural systems. In Chapter one, I use field experiments and mathematical models to determine the range of adult zooplankton dispersal over land and what vectors are moving zooplankton. Chapter two focuses on prolonged dormancy of one aquatic zooplankter, Daphnia pulex. Using statistical models with field and mesocosm experiments, I show that variation in Daphnia dormant egg hatching is substantial among populations in nature, and some of that variation can be attributed to genetic differences among the populations. Chapters three and four explore the consequences of dispersal at multiple levels of biological organization. Chapter three seeks to understand the population level consequences of dispersal over evolutionary time on current patterns of population genetic differentiation. Nearby populations of D. pulex often exhibit high population genetic differentiation characteristic of very low dispersal. I explore two alternative hypotheses that seek to explain this pattern. Finally, chapter four is a case study of how dispersal has influenced patterns of variation at the community, trait and genetic levels of biodiversity in a lake metacommunity.
Issue Date:2009-05-05
Citation Info:Chapter 1: Allen, MR. 2007. Measuring and modeling disperal of adult zooplankton. Oecologia 153: 135-143.
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology in the Graduate College of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2009
Genre:Dissertation / Thesis
Publication Status:published or submitted for publication
Peer Reviewed:is peer reviewed
Rights Information:Copyright 2009 Michael R. Allen
Date Available in IDEALS:2009-05-07

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