Natural hybridization is reproduction (without artificial influence) between two or more species/populations which are distinguishable from each other by heritable characters. Natural hybridizations among marine fishes were highly underappreciated due to limited research effort; it seems that this phenomenon occurs more often than is commonly recognized. As hybridization plays an important role in biodiversity processes in the marine environment, detecting hybridization events and investigating hybridization is important to understand and protect biodiversity.
The first chapter sets the framework for this disseration study. The Cohesion Species Concept was selected as the working definition of a species for this study as it can handle marine fish hybridization events. The concept does not require restrictive species boundaries. A general history and background of natural hybridization in marine fishes is reviewed during in chapter as well.
Four marine fish hybridization cases were examed and documented in Chapters 2 to 5. In each case study, at least one diagnostic nuclear marker, screened from among ~14 candidate markers, was found to discriminate the putative hybridizing parent species. To
further investigate genetic evidence to support the hybrid status for each hybrid offspring in each case, haploweb analysis on diagnostic markers (nuclear and/or mitochondrial) and the DAPC/PCA analysis on microsatellite data were used. By combining the genetic evidences, morphological traits, and ecological observations together, the potential reasons that triggered each hybridization events and the potential genetic/ecology effects could be discussed.
In the last chapter, sequences from 82 pairs of hybridizing parents species (for which COI barcoding sequences were available either on GenBank or in our lab) were collected. By comparing the COI fragment p-distance between each hybridizing parent
species, some general questions about marine fish hybridization were discussed: Is there any correlation between genetic similarity and the potential for hybridization in marine fishes? In some particular geographic locations that have the existence of several different hybridization reports, are the species involved in hybridization among those reports all closely related or distantly related? Can any associations between parent species’ similarities and hybrid spots be found?
|Date of Award
- Biological, Environmental Sciences and Engineering
|Michael Berumen (Supervisor)
- Marine fish
- Natural hybridization
- Molecular identification