Niche Partition Without Speciation: Web Polymorphism on an Island Spider

What does it take to start a conservation project in another country? Dr Dan Danahar will show us the challenges and the joys.

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Delicada arquitectura

Endemic to the remote Isla del Coco (Costa Rica), Wendilgarda galapagensis (Theridiosomatidae) is the only spider described to spin three different web types.

This situation allows us to explore how diversification occurs on small islands. Typically, isolation on large complex archipelagos results in many ecologically different species from a common ancestor. But, do adaptive radiations occur on small islands without internal geographic barriers?

Our Next Generation Sequencing and field experiment data support the idea that diversification on small islands might occur mainly at the behavioral level producing an intraspecific niche partition, without speciation. Therefore, an intraspecific adaptive radiation.

Dr Darko Cotoras
Dr Darko Cotoras

Darko D. Cotoras is a Research Associate with the California Academy of Sciences and soon to start as a Humboldt Postdoctoral fellow at the Senckenberg Museum. His main research interest is on the historical processes that create biodiversity in conditions of isolation. He focuses on invertebrates from islands in the Pacific Ocean.

He did a PostDoc between the California Academy of Sciences and the University of California, Santa Cruz on improving ancient DNA methods for museum specimens. Techniques which were applied on island biogeography of spiders.

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