Meeting Abstract

S7.3  Thursday, Jan. 6  The Genetics of Habitat Transitions: Lessons from Invasion Biology CRISTESCU, Melania E; University of Windsor

Many invasive aquatic species are undergoing rapid range expansions accompanied by dramatic habitat transitions (e.g., marine to freshwater, ephemeral ponds to permanent lakes). These invasive taxa present outstanding opportunities to study past and present colonization events as well as the genetic mechanisms underling the adaptive responses of organisms to novel environments and stresses. These issues are firstly addressed with an investigation of several species of Ponto-Caspian crustaceans (endemic to the Black and Caspian Seas) that have recently colonized the Great Lakes, and secondly with a consideration of the waterflea Daphnia - an emerging model system for ecological genomics. Phylogenetic approaches are employed to contrast historical and contemporary patterns and rates of colonization among Ponto-Caspian invaders as well as among widely distributed zooplankton species. The development and application of genomic tools for Daphnia pulex (e.g., microsatellite based genetic linkage mapping) to study the genetic mechanisms underlying traits involved in adaptation to new environments are discussed in the context of invasion biology and crustacean genomics.