– BiK-Net Incoming –

GENOMIC ANALYSES OF THE DOTTY BACK PSEUDOCHROMIS SP. (PSEUDOCHROMIDAE)

Inviting BiK-F scientists:
Dr. Tilman Alpermann (Tropical-Marine Ecosystems Group, PB-A), Prof. Dr. Markus Pfenninger (Evolutionary Ecology Group, PB-D)

Guest scientist and duration:
Bastian Greshake (B.Sc. Life Sciences, University of Münster), October 2010 to January 2011.

Project description:
The reef fish family Pseudochromidae (dotty backs) contains six endemic Red Sea species with sibling species in the Gulf of Aden and adjacent regions of the Indian Ocean. This group is among those that were selected for a comparative analysis of climate-driven re-colonisation processes of the Red Sea (PB-A 4.2: TMS – Molecular clocks). Besides analysis of these early Holocene processes by molecular clocks and coalescence approaches (PB-A 4.2 ), adaptive processes can be identified by analysis of genes under natural selection.
To this end, bioinformatical analyses (sequence assembly, gene prediction and annotation) of a partial 454 shotgun-genome sequencing run are carried out for the identification of functional genes. The evolution of the identified genes will be further investigated by analyses of sequence characteristics of protein-coding sequences. Comparative analyses of closely related taxa – or at the population level within a species – will identify those genes that have undergone positive or purifying selection or which evolved neutrally. This information will allow concluding on prevailing selective constraints in different environments and will help in evaluating hypotheses on the influence of climate change on speciation processes, which in the case of the Red Sea have lead to divergence of sibling species and endemism.

Genomic characterisation by sequence assembly and functional gene annotation and the subsequent analysis of genomic signatures of selection and adaptation processes bridge research activities in the Tropic Marine Systems group (TMS) in project areas PB-A, -B and -F with those in the Evolutionary Ecology Group in PB-D.