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POPBIO SEMINAR - Sally Potter, Australian National University
2:00pm - 3:00pm
Australia harbours unique biodiversity as a result of isolation and the dramatic changes to biomes from the mid Miocene as a result of aridification. The increasing availability of large-scale genomic datasets offers the opportunity to better understand the evolutionary history of large radiations, particularly for non-model organisms. Here I discuss our use of a high-throughput sequencing approach and how it has helped us to infer divergence processes and responses to past climate of lizards across the Australian Monsoonal Tropics. Our results shed light on the spatial and temporal processes shaping current day diversity. In addition, they highlight both taxonomically cryptic diversity, as well as rampant introgression among species. I discuss our results across the speciation continuum, from weakly differentiated populations and their demographic histories, to deeply divergent phylogenetic trends across the Eugongylus group of skinks. The Eugongylus skinks provide a valuable model for exploring speciation dynamics within Australia, as it is a species-rich group that covers the entire continent allowing opportunity to explore many macroevolutionary questions.

I’ll also outline our new research collaboration with Mark Kirkpatrick which we are using Australian rock-wallabies as a model “non-model” to assess the relationship between chromosome rearrangements and speciation.