26.01.2015
University news
Dissertation news

Dissertation: Interactions and patterns between species diversity and genetic diversity

Time:

31.1.2015 12:00 — 15:00


Location: Seminaarinmaki, Seminarium, Vanha juhlasali, S212
M.Sc. Aapo Kahilainen defends his doctoral dissertation in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology ”Interactions and patterns between species diversity and genetic diversity” on 31 Jan 2015. Opponent Professor Nathan Sanders (University of Copenhagen) and custos Professor Janne Kotiaho (University of Jyväskylä). The event is in English.

Kahilainen, AapoM.Sc. Aapo Kahilainen defends his doctoral dissertation in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology ”Interactions and patterns between species diversity and genetic diversity”. Opponent Professor Nathan Sanders (University of Copenhagen) and custos Professor Janne Kotiaho (University of Jyväskylä). The event is in English.

Abstract

Calopteryx_splendens_C_virgonetti.jpgThe similarities in the theories of community ecology and population genetics suggest that species diversity within and between communities and genetic diversity within and between populations are driven by the same four general mechanisms: (1) drift, (2) dispersal, (3) selection, and (4) the formation of new variants (i.e. speciation and mutation). Since, for both species diversity and genetic diversity, the relative significances of each of the first three mechanisms are very much influenced by characteristics of the environment, correlations between species diversity and genetic diversity, i.e. species-genetic diversity correlations (SGDCs), are expected. Considering that practical conservation most often focuses on species diversity (or surrogates thereof), SGDCs could provide information on how conservation and management decisions influence genetic diversities of populations, and thus also their viabilities. Furthermore, teasing apart the drivers of the SGDCs can offer mechanistic explanations for diversity and therefore suggest a process-based approach to conservation. I studied the generalizability of SGDC and the role of environmental characteristics by means of a literary review and empirical studies on natural dragonfly and damselfly communities. I then conducted individual-based simulations to assess how inbreeding depression due to loss of genetic diversity can influence extinction rates in neutral multispecies metacommunities. My results suggest that SGDCs are highly variable in natural systems and that interactions between ecologically similar species can influence their genetic structures. Therefore, the results question the utility of using species diversity or genetic structures of ecologically similar species as surrogates for genetic diversity of species of conservation concern. Furthermore, my results suggest that if intraspecific genetic diversity is not explicitly considered, the extinction rates in multispecies metacommunities might be underestimated.

Keywords: Community ecology; population genetics; conservation biology; interspecific interactions; Calopteryx; Odonata; simulation modelling

The dissertation is published in the series Jyväskylä Studies in Biological and Environmental Science, number 295, 45 p., Jyväskylä 2015, ISSN: 1456–9701, ISBN: 978-951-39-6055-1. It is available at the University Library’s Publications Unit, +358 (0)40 805 3825, myynti@library.jyu.fi.

  • Further information:

Aapo Kahilainen aapo.kahilainen@jyu.fi, puh. 044 0798500

Communications officer Anitta Kananen, tiedotus@jyu.fi, tel. +358 40 805 4142