Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

EcoEvoPub Series

Thursday, March 14, 2013
5:00 PM
154 BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES RESEARCH BLDG

Mark Phuong
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary
UCLA

“Characterizing diversification patterns in cone snails”

Abstract:
Cone snails within the genus Conus constitute one of the most species rich marine invertebrate genera in the world. These predatory snails typically feed on worms, molluscs, or fish, and capture their prey using a cocktail of venomous neurotoxins. Diet diversity is distributed unevenly in this group - nearly 70% of cone snails feed on worms. To understand this disparity, I generated a fossil-calibrated phylogeny of 222 species using six previously published loci. Then, I used phylogenetic comparative methods to (a) characterize diet evolution and (b) test whether diversification rates depend on diet.

Adrea Gonzalez-Karlsson
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
UCLA

“Pyrrolizidine alkaloid acquisition and Mate choice in Ithomiine Butterflies”

Abstract:
Ithomiines synthesize pheromones from toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloid (PA) precursors, which deter predators and protect the aggregations.  Male ithomiines gather these compounds as adults from plant sources (commonly Boraginaceae).  Female ithomiines receive these compounds as a nuptial gift.  Male time investment in alkaloid gathering versus nutrient seeking, evaluated by comparison of plant use, determines success in mate acquisition.  However, Ithomiines show us that sex appeal can be risky.