HMSC Research Seminar- Ecological time-traveling via molecular ecology
Speaker: Alana Alexander, Rutherford Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Otago
Topic: Ecological time-traveling via molecular ecology
Genetic data is useful for filling in gaps in ecological inference, both in terms of temporal scales – allowing inferences across deep time – but also because the relatively simple sampling procedures can be carried out over large spatial scales. Here, I will step through some examples of time-traveling molecular ecology, ranging from broad spatial and deep temporal scales (global spatial scales over the last 125,000 years in sperm whales), to finer spatial and temporal scales (just a few kilometres over three decades in a chickadee hybrid zone in Missouri). I'll finish off with a description of my current research at the University of Otago: looking at population dynamics from the distant to the recent past in the critically-endangered Māui dolphin and endangered Hector's dolphin subspecies endemic to New Zealand waters.