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EEB Tuesday Lunch Seminar: Macroevolutionary approaches to understanding Neotropical fish diversity

Hernán López-Fernández, Royal Ontario Museum and Department of EEB, University of Toronto
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
12:10-1:00 PM
Aud C Angell Hall Map
A brown bag lunch featuring topics of interest.

The Neotropical region of South and Central America harbors and estimated eight thousand species of freshwater fishes. My research program attempts to understand how such vast biodiversity has evolved. My lab studies Neotropical fish diversity using three approaches:
1) Phylogenomics and dating methods provide a framework to analyze Neotropical fish evolution. We use cichlids as models to elucidate patterns and mechanisms of divergence of Neotropical freshwater fishes. The age of cichlids remains a controversial topic; we are incorporating phylogenomic and osteological data from living and fossil taxa into total evidence dating approaches to understand the timing and historical drivers of cichlid evolution.
2) Comparative methods allow us to examine the eco-evolutionary processes that originated Neotropical fish diversity. We combine phylogenies with field and collection-based data including morphometrics, swimming and feeding mechanics, and ecology. Adaptive diversification in riverine Neotropical cichlids appears to be dominated by early radiations driven by trophic and habitat-use specializations. Several questions remain: Are similar processes detectable in African riverine cichlids? How does riverine diversification differ from the iconic cichlid radiations in east African lakes? Furthermore, did early adaptive divergence drive the evolution of the entire Neotropical fish fauna? And how was the evolution of Neotropical freshwater fishes modulated by ecological end evolutionary interactions among coexisting, diverging lineages? We are expanding our work to integrate the evolutionary history of various Neotropical fish families and clarify the history of their coexistence.
3) Targeted field expeditions discover and describe increasingly threatened fish biodiversity and support our evolutionary studies. Many regions of the Neotropics remain virtually unexplored while their fishes are endangered by human activities like mining, logging and dam construction. Our work also aids in evaluating conservation priorities for freshwater fish biodiversity.
Building: Angell Hall
Event Type: Workshop / Seminar
Tags: Biology, Ecology, Environment, Latin America, Museum, Science
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, EEB Tuesday Lunch Seminars