Cesc Múrria

Université de Sherbrooke
Postdoctoral fellow candidate

Supervisor: Mark Vellend
Start: 2013-02-21
End: 2015-02-20
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The relationship between species and genetic diversity as a framework to detect underlying processes that drive biodiversity patterns
Biodiversity varies across space and time, and this variation is thought to be driven by ecological and evolutionary processes that act upon individuals and species leaving an imprint on current populations and community composition and distribution. Studies in both community ecology (species composition and distribution) and population genetics (genetic composition and distribution) have revealed separately the importance of traits of organisms (dispersion) and habitat characteristics (disturbance regimes, primary productivity, topography) on diversity patterns and underlying processes that drive these patterns. Assuming that the action of similar processes may generate similar patterns at both levels of organization, recent studies have incorporated both levels and test the correlation between SD and GD (SGDC). Sometimes SD and GD show correlated patterns indicating similar responses to underlying causal factors, however sometimes they are uncorrelated indicating no possibility for using one as a surrogate for the other. The massively sequenced cox1 gene shows strong genetic subdivision at two hierarchical levels providing well-resolved species delimitation as well as an estimate of intraspecific genetic diversity and turnover among populations. The current project uses the availability of cox1 haplotype data across many taxa within communities in many parts of the world to tests differences for SGDC between regions; and tests for the generality of the SGDC and predictors of its strength and direction across the globe based on biological traits and habitat characteristics. This project develops a new and important perspective on how biodiversity can be assessed, and it will contribute to the understanding of what determines patterns of species diversity, as haplotypes comprise the most basal level where diversity can be measured.