Michael A. McCartney, Marine Molecular Ecology and Evolution.
SUNY Stony Brook, 1994.
Office 2328 CMS, Phone
1002 Friday Hall
2313 CMS, Phone (910) 962-2390
Fax (910) 962-2410
My lab is interested in how marine organisms become reproductively isolated during speciation. One primary focus is the study of gamete recognition in sea urchins and mussels. We found a strong link between adaptive evolution of the sperm-egg recognition protein bindin and fertilization barriers between recently formed species of tropical urchins. Now we are using experiments in laboratory flumes to see how sexual selection on sperm-egg recognition proteins is influenced by conditions of water flow and gamete densities around spawning green urchins.
Blue mussels offer an opportunity not available in sea urchins, and that is to study gamete recognition between species in which reproductive barriers are incipient, and hybridization occurs at high frequencies in natural populations. This means that gamete incompatibility is likely to be more closely tied to the emergence of reproductive isolation. In collaboration with colleagues in Maine, we are using in vitro fertilizations, molecular markers, and studies of sperm lysin proteins and their coding DNAs to study evolution of gamete incompatibility within the Gulf of Maine hybrid zone.
Mating preferences and color pattern diversity are thought to evolve rapidly in the famous cichlid fish flocks, but this pattern has remained unstudied in the most diverse vertebrate groupócoral reef fishes. Our lab has studied the recent radiation of strong assortative mating and vivid color pattern differences in the hamlets, a species flock of Caribbean coral reef fishes showing extraordinary genetic similarity.
We are also developing programs in conservation and fisheries genetics. Ongoing work includes studies of species status in endemic darters, work on genetic identification and endemic status of threatened freshwater mussels, analyses of connectivity between Caribbean populations of mutton snapper, and a new project that examines mixing between black sea bass stocks north and south of Cape Hatteras.
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