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        Evolution in Darwin's Dreamponds: The adaptive radiations of cichlid fishes in the East African Great Lakes

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Duración: 01:10 hs.



Viernes 23 de noviembre, 12h.

Salón de Actos. Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales.

This lecture will be held in English.



Título: Evolution in Darwin's Dreamponds: The adaptive radiations of cichlid fishes in the East African Great Lakes


Ponente: Walter Salzburger, Universidad de Basilea, Suiza





More than one and a half centuries after the publication of Charles R. Darwin’s The Origin of Species, the identification of the processes governing the emergence of novel species remains a fundamental question to biology. Why is it that some groups have diversified in a seemingly explosive manner, while other lineages have remained unvaried over millions of years? And what are the external factors and environmental conditions that promote diversification? A key to these and related questions is the comparative study of exceptionally diverse yet relatively young species assemblages that have radiated in geographically well-defined areas, such as the Darwin’s finches on the Galapagos archipelago, the Caribbean Anoles lizards or the cichlid fishes in the Great Lakes of East Africa.


Lakes Tanganyika, Malawi, and Victoria are each teeming with a unique set of hundreds of endemic cichlid species, which are likely to have evolved in the last few millions to several thousands of years only. East Africa’s cichlid species differ greatly in ecologically relevant, hence naturally selected, characters such as mouth morphology and body shape, but also in sexually selected traits such as coloration.


One of the most fascinating aspects of cichlid evolution is the frequent occurrence of evolutionary parallelisms, which has led to the question whether selection alone is sufficient to produce these parallel morphologies, or whether a developmental or genetic bias has influenced the direction of diversification.

La investigación del Prof. Salzburger se centra en las bases moleculares de la evolución, de los procesos responsables de la adaptación, la inovación y la especiación, y la evolución de los genes y los genomas durante los procesos de radiación adaptativa y especiación. Su modelo de estudio son los peces del grupo de los cíclidos.




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