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Katie SmithPhD Student
Enrolled at: Zoology Department, University of Melbourne
Historical change in a hybrid zone: Evolution of the Hylid frogs, Litoria ewingi and L. paraewingi
Hybrid zones are evolutionarily interesting as they provide a unique opportunity to gain insight into the origin, maintenance and breakdown of reproductive isolation. The parapatric Hylid frogs, Litoria ewingi and L. paraewingi share a narrow zone of contact in which hybridisation occurs. Divergence in male advertisement calls and one-way genetic incompatibility suggests several processes may be contributing to the maintenance of the zone including reinforcement, introgression and natural selection. My research will explore the contribution of these evolutionary processes along a transect perpendicular to the hybrid zone. I will be using genetic techniques to study hybridisation in an historical context; museum specimens of L. ewingi and L. paraewingi collected over the past 45 years will be compared with data gathered from current populations. In addition, I will use matching mating call data to examine the corresponding variation in premating isolating mechanisms to provide a thorough investigation of hybrid zone dynamics.
My PhD forms part of a ARC linkage grant between the University of Melbourne and Museum Victoria, involving Jane Melville, Mike Kearney, Josh Hale, Kirsten Parris, Murray Littlejohn, Jeremy Austin and Josh Van Buskirk.
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