Pritzker Laboratory for Molecular Systematics and Evolution

Chicago, IL, United States

Pritzker Laboratory for Molecular Systematics and Evolution

Chicago, IL, United States
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Maddox J.D.,Pritzker Laboratory for Molecular Systematics and Evolution | Maddox J.D.,Charles University
Avian Research | Year: 2017

Background: Accurately assigning hatchlings to the eggs from which they hatched is a prerequisite to understanding how the composition and environment of eggs affect the growth and survival of nestlings. Correctly assigning hatchlings to their eggs can be a challenging endeavor, however, because multiple eggs within the same clutch can hatch at essentially the same time. Egg and hatchling mass are highly correlated in most bird species, and thus assigning eggs to hatchlings using their relative mass (e.g., matching the heaviest hatchling to the heaviest candidate egg) could prove extremely useful. Methods: To assess its potential utility, I applied relative mass assignment (RMA) retrospectively to a dataset of 133 Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) nests in which all egg-hatchling dyads were determined unequivocally. Results: I found that RMA correctly assigned approximately 90% of hatchlings to their eggs when 2-4 hatchlings were present between checks. The number of nests in which hatchlings could not be assigned to their egg, however, increased monotonically from 13 to 46 to 78% for nests containing 2, 3, and 4 hatchlings, respectively, due to the greater likelihood that the mass of hatchlings or their candidate eggs was identical. Conclusions: Although RMA correctly identified the vast majority of egg-hatchling dyads, researchers should use this method with caution, because it will always inflate positive egg-size effects and thus could potentially result in erroneously reporting significant effects. © 2017 The Author(s).

Feldheim K.A.,Pritzker Laboratory for Molecular Systematics and Evolution | Gruber S.H.,Bimini Biological Field Station Foundation | Dibattista J.D.,King Abdullah University of Science and Technology | Kessel S.T.,Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research | And 4 more authors.
Molecular Ecology | Year: 2014

Sharks are a globally threatened group of marine fishes that often breed in their natal region of origin. There has even been speculation that female sharks return to their exact birthplace to breed ('natal philopatry'), which would have important conservation implications. Genetic profiling of lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris) from 20 consecutive cohorts (1993-2012) at Bimini, Bahamas, showed that certain females faithfully gave birth at this site for nearly two decades. At least six females born in the 1993-1997 cohorts returned to give birth 14-17 years later, providing the first direct evidence of natal philopatry in the chondrichthyans. Long-term fidelity to specific nursery sites coupled with natal philopatry highlights the merits of emerging spatial and local conservation efforts for these threatened predators. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Dibattista J.D.,McGill University | Feldheim K.A.,Pritzker Laboratory for Molecular Systematics and Evolution | Garant D.,Université de Sherbrooke | Hendry A.P.,McGill University
Evolutionary Applications | Year: 2011

The level of genetic variation in natural populations influences evolutionary potential, and may therefore influence responses to selection in the face of future environmental changes. By combining long-term monitoring of marked individuals with genetic pedigree reconstruction, we assessed whether habitat loss influenced genetic variation in a lemon shark (Negaprion brevirostris) population at an isolated nursery lagoon (Bimini, Bahamas). We also tracked changes in the strength and direction of natural selection. Contrary to initial expectations, we found that after the habitat loss neutral genetic variation increased, as did additive genetic variance for juvenile morphological traits (body length and mass). We hypothesize that these effects might result from philopatric behavior in females coupled with a possible influx of male genotypes from other nursery sites. We also found changes in the strength of selection on morphological traits, which weakened considerably after the disturbance; habitat loss therefore changed the phenotypes favored by natural selection. Because such human-induced shifts in the adaptive landscape may be common, we suggest that conservation biologists should not simply focus on neutral genetic variation per se, but also on assessing and preserving evolutionary parameters, such as additive genetic variation and selection. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Harrison H.B.,James Cook University | Harrison H.B.,CNRS Insular Research Center and Environment Observatory | Williamson D.H.,James Cook University | Evans R.D.,Department of Environment and Conservation Perth | And 12 more authors.
Current Biology | Year: 2012

Marine reserves, areas closed to all forms of fishing, continue to be advocated and implemented to supplement fisheries and conserve populations [1-4]. However, although the reproductive potential of important fishery species can dramatically increase inside reserves [5-8], the extent to which larval offspring are exported and the relative contribution of reserves to recruitment in fished and protected populations are unknown [4, 9-11]. Using genetic parentage analyses, we resolve patterns of larval dispersal for two species of exploited coral reef fish within a network of marine reserves on the Great Barrier Reef. In a 1,000 km 2 study area, populations resident in three reserves exported 83% (coral trout, Plectropomus maculatus) and 55% (stripey snapper, Lutjanus carponotatus) of assigned offspring to fished reefs, with the remainder having recruited to natal reserves or other reserves in the region. We estimate that reserves, which account for just 28% of the local reef area, produced approximately half of all juvenile recruitment to both reserve and fished reefs within 30 km. Our results provide compelling evidence that adequately protected reserve networks can make a significant contribution to the replenishment of populations on both reserve and fished reefs at a scale that benefits local stakeholders. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Ribeiro A.M.,University of California at Berkeley | Ribeiro A.M.,University of Cape Town | Lloyd P.,University of Cape Town | Feldheim K.A.,Pritzker Laboratory for Molecular Systematics and Evolution | And 2 more authors.
Molecular Ecology | Year: 2012

Dispersal can be motivated by multiple factors including sociality. Dispersal behaviour affects population genetic structure that in turn reinforces social organization. We combined observational information with individual-based genetic data in the Karoo scrub-robin, a facultative cooperatively breeding bird, to understand how social bonds within familial groups affect mating patterns, cause sex asymmetry in dispersal behaviour and ultimately influence the evolution of dispersal. Our results revealed that males and females do not have symmetrical roles in structuring the population. Males are extremely philopatric and tend to delay dispersal until they gain a breeding position within a radius of two territories around the natal site. By contrast, females dispersed over larger distances, as soon as they reach independence. This resulted in male neighbourhoods characterized by high genetic relatedness. The long-distance dispersal strategy of females ensured that Karoo scrub-robins do not pair with relatives thereby compensating for male philopatry caused by cooperation. The observed female-biased strategy seems to be the most prominent mechanism to reduce the risk of inbreeding that characterizes social breeding system. This study demonstrates that tying together ecological data, such as breeding status, determining social relationships with genetic data, such as kinship, provides valuable insights into the proximate causes of dispersal, which are central to any evolutionary interpretation. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Chapman D.D.,Marine Conservation Institute | Feldheim K.A.,Pritzker Laboratory for Molecular Systematics and Evolution | Papastamatiou Y.P.,University of St. Andrews | Hueter R.E.,Center for Shark Research
Annual Review of Marine Science | Year: 2015

The overexploitation of sharks has become a global environmental issue in need of a comprehensive and multifaceted management response. Tracking studies are beginning to elucidate how shark movements shape the internal dynamics and structure of populations, which determine the most appropriate scale of these management efforts. Tracked sharks frequently either remain in a restricted geographic area for an extended period of time (residency) or return to a previously resided-in area after making long-distance movements (site fidelity). Genetic studies have shown that some individuals of certain species preferentially return to their exact birthplaces (natal philopatry) or birth regions (regional philopatry) for either parturition or mating, even though they make long-distance movements that would allow them to breed elsewhere. More than 80 peer-reviewed articles, constituting the majority of published shark tracking and population genetic studies, provide evidence of at least one of these behaviors in a combined 31 shark species from six of the eight extant orders. Residency, site fidelity, and philopatry can alone or in combination structure many coastal shark populations on finer geographic scales than expected based on their potential for dispersal. This information should therefore be used to scale and inform assessment, management, and conservation activities intended to restore depleted shark populations. Copyright © 2015 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.

Dibattista J.D.,Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology | Rocha L.A.,California Academy of Sciences | Craig M.T.,University of San Diego | Feldheim K.A.,Pritzker Laboratory for Molecular Systematics and Evolution | Bowen B.W.,Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology
Journal of Heredity | Year: 2012

Marine biogeographic barriers can have unpredictable consequences, even among closely related species. To resolve phylogeographic patterns for Indo-Pacific reef fauna, we conducted range-wide surveys of sister species, the scrawled butterflyfish (Chaetodon meyeri; N = 134) and the ornate butterflyfish (Chaetodon ornatissimus; N = 296), using mitochondrial DNA cytochrome b sequences and 10 microsatellite loci. The former is distributed primarily in the Indian Ocean but also extends to the Line Islands in the Central Pacific, whereas the latter is distributed primarily in the Central-West Pacific (including Hawaii and French Polynesia) but extends to the eastern margin of the Indian Ocean. Analyses of molecular variance and Bayesian STRUCTURE results revealed 1 range-wide group for C. meyeri and 3 groups for C. ornatissimus: 1) eastern Indian Ocean and western Pacific, 2) Central Pacific, and 3) Hawaii. Estimates of the last population expansion were much more recent for C. meyeri (61 500 to 95 000 years) versus C. ornatissimus (184 700 to 286 300 years). Despite similarities in ecology, morphology, life history, and a broadly overlapping distribution, these sister species have divergent patterns of dispersal and corresponding evolutionary history. The mtDNA and microsatellite markers did not provide concordant results within 1 of our study species (C. meyeri), or in 7 out of 12 other cases of marine fishes in the published literature. This discordance renews caution in relying on one or a few markers for reconstructing historical demography. © 2012 The American Genetic Association. All rights reserved.

Fields A.T.,State University of New York at Stony Brook | Feldheim K.A.,Pritzker Laboratory for Molecular Systematics and Evolution | Poulakis G.R.,Florida Fish And Wildlife Conservation Commission | Chapman D.D.,State University of New York at Stony Brook
Current Biology | Year: 2015

Summary Facultative parthenogenesis - the ability of sexually reproducing species to sometimes produce offspring asexually - is known from a wide range of ordinarily sexually reproducing vertebrates in captivity, including some birds, reptiles and sharks [1-3]. Despite this, free-living parthenogens have never been observed in any of these taxa in the wild, although two free-living snakes were recently discovered each gestating a single parthenogen - one copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix) and one cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus) [1]. Vertebrate parthenogens are characterized as being of the homogametic sex (e.g., females in sharks, males in birds) and by having elevated homozygosity compared to their mother [1-3], which may reduce their viability [4]. Although it is unknown if either of the parthenogenetic snakes would have been carried to term or survived in the wild, facultative parthenogenesis might have adaptive significance [1]. If this is true, it is reasonable to hypothesize that parthenogenesis would be found most often at low population density, when females risk reproductive failure because finding mates is difficult [5]. Here, we document the first examples of viable parthenogens living in a normally sexually reproducing wild vertebrate, the smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata). We also provide a simple approach to screen any microsatellite DNA database for parthenogens, which will enable hypothesis-driven research on the significance of vertebrate parthenogenesis in the wild. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved.

Chaves-Fonnegra A.,Nova Southeastern University | Feldheim K.A.,Pritzker Laboratory for Molecular Systematics and Evolution | Secord J.,Nova Southeastern University | Lopez J.V.,Nova Southeastern University
Molecular Ecology | Year: 2015

Some excavating sponges of the genus Cliona compete with live reef corals, often killing and bioeroding entire colonies. Important aspects affecting distribution of these species, such as dispersal capability and population structure, remain largely unknown. Thus, the aim of this study was to determine levels of genetic connectivity and dispersal of Cliona delitrix across the Greater Caribbean (Caribbean Sea, Bahamas and Florida), to understand current patterns and possible future trends in their distribution and effects on coral reefs. Using ten species-specific microsatellite markers, we found high levels of genetic differentiation between six genetically distinct populations: one in the Atlantic (Florida-Bahamas), one specific to Florida and four in the South Caribbean Sea. In Florida, two independent breeding populations are likely separated by depth. Gene flow and ecological dispersal occur among other populations in the Florida reef tract, and between some Florida locations and the Bahamas. Similarly, gene flow occurs between populations in the South Caribbean Sea, but appears restricted between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic (Florida-Bahamas). Dispersal of C. delitrix was farther than expected for a marine sponge and favoured in areas where currents are strong enough to transport sponge eggs or larvae over longer distances. Our results support the influence of ocean current patterns on genetic connectivity, and constitute a baseline to monitor future C. delitrix trends under climate change. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Wirshing H.H.,University of Miami | Wirshing H.H.,Smithsonian Institution | Feldheim K.A.,Pritzker Laboratory for Molecular Systematics and Evolution | Baker A.C.,University of Miami
Molecular Ecology | Year: 2013

The ability of coral reefs to recover from natural and anthropogenic disturbance is difficult to predict, in part due to uncertainty regarding the dispersal capabilities and connectivity of their reef inhabitants. We developed microsatellite markers for the broadcast spawning gorgonian octocoral Eunicea (Plexaura) flexuosa (four markers) and its dinoflagellate symbiont, Symbiodinium B1 (five markers), and used them to assess genetic connectivity, specificity and directionality of gene flow among sites in Florida, Panama, Saba and the Dominican Republic. Bayesian analyses found that most E. flexuosa from the Florida reef tract, Saba and the Dominican Republic were strongly differentiated from many E. flexuosa in Panama, with the exception of five colonies from Key West that clustered with colonies from Panama. In contrast, Symbiodinium B1 was more highly structured. At least seven populations were detected that showed patterns of isolation by distance. The symbionts in the five unusual Key West colonies also clustered with symbionts from Panama, suggesting these colonies are the result of long-distance dispersal. Migration rate tests indicated a weak signal of northward immigration from the Panama population into the lower Florida Keys. As E. flexuosa clonemates only rarely associated with the same Symbiodinium B1 genotype (and vice versa), these data suggest a dynamic host-symbiont relationship in which E. flexuosa is relatively well dispersed but likely acquires Symbiodinium B1 from highly structured natal areas prior to dispersal. Once vectored by host larvae, these symbionts may then spread through the local population, and/or host colonies may acquire different local symbiont genotypes over time. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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