Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.757009
Title: Effects of Andean geographic dynamics on the population history of Tococa-associated Azteca ants
Author: Torres Jiménez, María Fernanda
ISNI:       0000 0004 7429 8460
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2018
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Abstract:
Myrmecophytic plant species form associations where the ant colony inhabits structures in the plant and offers protection against herbivory in exchange for food and shelter. Widely distributed across the tropics, myrmecophytic mutualisms are particularly diverse in the Neotropics, a region characterized by the rapid and recent uplift of the Andean mountain range. It has been suggested that the abrupt change in terrain triggered the emergence of new niches, new barriers to gene ow and speciation. Studying ant-plant associations in the Neotropics not only provides insight into how associations evolve in time but also the impact that external factors, such as geographic changes, have in the evolution of mutualisms. Because of its wide distribution on both sides of the Andes, The Tococa guianensis- Azteca system is useful to explore the effects the Andean uplift had on the evolution of mutualisms. This thesis aims to 1. Identify the ants associating with T. guianensis and the lineages of ants and plants involved in the mutualisms in different populations on both sides of the Andes, 2. generate genomic data for both ants and plants to increase sampling of loci, and 3. estimate and calibrate the species trees to compare patterns of phylogenetics and temporal congruence between ants, plants and the Andean uplift. Most ant-plant studies focus on only one partner or study both partners by using already collected data for one of them. This project is the first study inferring the evolutionary history of both partners associated at that point in time and across a large area. This thesis identifies two main Azteca lineages associated with T. guianensis, each one distributed on different sides of the Andes. It addresses the monophyly of T. guianensis (and related species) and why such monophyly cannot be confirmed. Results show how both plants and ants were geographically structured congruent with timing of a split of populations coinciding with the Andean uplift. Moreover, four plants and fifteen ant genomes were assembled and used to estimate gene and species trees. For Tococa, candidate markers were selected for future resolution of the plant's phylogeny. Different histories but similar divergence times between ants and plants suggest that the mutualism has evolved in response to geographic changes rather than through codiversication, but that the mutualism persists thanks to the availability of the host. The information generated during this study provides the basis to understand the evolution of mutualisms, the genomic features of ants and plants and opens the possibility for Tococa and Azteca to become a model system.
Supervisor: Stone, Graham ; Richardson, James Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.757009  DOI: Not available
Keywords: mutualism ; evolution ; vicariance ; ant-plant ; T. guianensis
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