I am a PhD candidate in the Mike Hickerson and Ana Carnaval labs at the City University of New York, City College campus. I am interested in understanding how populations evolve in response to changing environments. Support BIPOC in STEM.
PhD in Biology- Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, 2018-present
City University of New York
MS in Zoology, 2018
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
BSc in Biology- Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, 2015
University of Texas at Austin
The Tropical Andes contains exceptionally high diversity, much of it arising within the Quaternary period. The complex geology of the Andes and paleoclimate fluctuations within the Quaternary suggest complex speciation scenarios. This, in turn, has contributed to idiosyncratic speciation modes among shallowly diverged Amazonian taxa. Many relationships among these taxa remain poorly resolved. Here we use a sequence capture approach, ultraconserved elements (UCEs), to address the phylogenetic relationships among three recently diverged Peruvian Ameerega poison frog species (A. cainarachi, A. petersi, and A. smaragdina; family Dendrobatidae) and explore a possible mode of speciation in this group. We assess concordance among concatenated phylogenetic tree inference, gene-tree based species tree inference, SNP-based species tree inference, and Bayes factor lineage delimitation to resolve species boundaries. We complement these analyses with assessments of call divergence to address the presence of a prezygotic reproductive barrier. Additionally, we further explore the phylogeographic history of these species of Ameerega with demographic inference, considering evidence for admixture and population expansions. Our results support the synonymy of A. smaragdina as a junior synonym of A. petersi and we find that speciation in this group is characterized by admixture and signatures of a population bottleneck followed by expansion. We invoke the disturbance-vicariance hypothesis to explain the observed patterns and call for more, detailed investigations of in-situ speciation in the Tropical Andes.