Ph.D. Dissertation Defense - Sofia Mudrova

Nov 04 2018 10:00 AM - Nov 04 2018 11:00 AM

 TITLE: Molecular diversity, phylogeny, and biogeographic patterns of crustacean copepods associated with scleractinian corals of the Indo-Pacific

 ADVISOR:  Prof. Michael Berumen

 DATE:  Sunday, 4 November

 TIME:  10 am

 LOCATION: Building 4 (seaside) · Level 5 · Room 5209

ABSTRACT: Biodiversity of coral reefs is higher than in any other marine ecosystem, and significant research efforts have been focused on studying coral taxonomy, physiology, ecology, as well as the coral-associated fauna. Yet little is known about the symbiotic copepods, abundant and numerous microscopic crustaceans inhabiting almost every living coral colony on a reef. This Ph.D. project is focused on assessing the genetic diversity of different groups of copepods associated with the reef-building corals in the distinct parts of the Indo-Pacific.  The results showed that the diversity of this group has been highly underestimated. 269 MOTUs (1850 copepod specimens), collected from 125 colonies of 43 species of scleractinian corals from 11 locations in the Indo-Pacific, were distinguished using molecular and taxonomical methods. Further, patterns of biogeographical distribution, endemism, and host-specificity in these symbiotic systems will be discussed. This dissertation is a first study of the genetic diversity of copepods associated with invertebrates, and it provides substantial insight into the diversity of coral-associated microcrustaceans and insight to patterns of their host-specificity as well as distribution around the Indo-Pacific.