This project will look at what regions of the ribosomal RNA genes, genes common to all organism, reflect the ecological and morphological diversity in a highly successful group of microcrustaceans. The Polyphemoidea consist of three families that either occur worldwide or are currently invading new habitats. One member, BYthotrephes, invaded North America in the 1980s, and is now a permanent member of the Great Lakes food web. It feeds on similar food as young fish, but has a long caudal spine that protects it from predation by small fish. A robust phylogeny or family tree is proposed to address whether the spine in some members lengthened over time, and whether ecological benefits occurred as animals became more protected. The project will apply molecular approaches to questions of organismal adaptations, and use recombinant DNA technology to test ecological theory. It will complement other ongoing studies of microcrustacean relationships and biogeography. The research fellow will gain training in molecular systematics to rigorously address and research questions in evolutionary ecology.
Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Molecular Evolution