Drivers of genetic differentiation in protist populations
This project is focused on the speciation event that has resulted in the formation of the two separate species Apocalathium malmogiense (marine) and Apocalathium aciculiferum (freshwater) (Logares et al. 2008). We are investigating both genetic divergence and reproductive barriers between these two, and the sibling species A. aff. malmogiense in the Antarctic lakes, as well as two closely related freshwater species.
Our previous studies indicate that salinity is a major barrier to speciation (Logares et al. 2008, 2009, 2010). Therefore, we are particularly interested in the response to salinity and differentiation at both the genetic and expression level. A population genomic approach (RAD-sequencing) is used to detect regions of selection and potential genes involved, in tandem with analyses of phenotypic variation of potential adaptive traits. In addition we are analyzing the transcriptomes of these species through the Marine Microbial Eukaryote Transcriptome Project funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.