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MSc Proposal Presentation
Location: Bailey Hall, Room 27, UNB Fredericton
MSc Proposal Presentation: Meghann Bruce
Tuesday, June 2, 2009, 2:00 p.m.
Bailey Hall, Room 27
Investigating species diversity within the genera Scagelia, Neoptilota and Ptilota in Canada using an integrated taxonomic approach.
Supervisor: Dr. G. Saunders
Supervisory Committee: Dr. L. Jesson
Dr. J. Addison
Chair of Proposal: Dr. L. Cwynar
Identification of red algae (Rhodophyta) using traditional methods can be challenging due to the prevalence of phenotypic plasticity, evolutionary convergence, presence of cryptic species and a reliance on ephemeral reproductive structures. However, molecular taxonomic techniques such as DNA barcoding can relieve taxonomists from their reliance on morphological characters. This study will investigate species diversity in Canadian waters for three red algal genera: Scagelia, Neoptilota and Ptilota, using an integration of molecular and morphological taxonomic techniques. For Scagelia, two species are reported in Canada, and preliminary barcode data support this finding, however, their respective biogeography differs from current views. For Neoptilota and Ptilota there are six species recognized in Canada (four Neoptilota and two Ptilota). However, preliminary data have revealed seven genetic species groups foreshadowing cryptic diversity within these genera, and questioning their monophyly. Additional studies investigating the evolutionary history of these genera will involve constructing a multi-gene phylogeny including large-subunit nuclear ribosomal DNA, ribulose-bisphosphate carboxylase and elongation factor 2 sequence data to elucidate the diversity and relationships within this species complex.