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Extramural Research

Grantee Research Project Results

Grantee Research Project Results

Population Genetic Structure of Two Blackfly (Simuliidae) Species in High-Elevation Headwater Streams of the Colorado Rocky Mountains

EPA Grant Number: U915974
Title: Population Genetic Structure of Two Blackfly (Simuliidae) Species in High-Elevation Headwater Streams of the Colorado Rocky Mountains
Investigators: Finn, Deborah S.
Institution: Colorado State University
EPA Project Officer: Boddie, Georgette
Project Period: January 1, 2001 through January 1, 2004
Project Amount: $77,696
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2001)
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Genetics , Health Effects



The objective of this research project is to analyze patterns of population subdivision in two high alpine blackfly (Simuliidae) species using mitochondrial protein-coding genes.


Studies of population genetic structure of stream insects often have suggested that movement between drainages is common, and lotic invertebrates generally are assumed to have the ability to disperse widely in flight. Exceptions to this pattern fall under two categories: (1) when a species is a larval habitat specialist on a rare habitat type; and (2) when there is a barrier to movement between drainages. Small, headwater streams provide unique habitat and often contain specialist species. Additionally, headwater streams in mountainous regions may be separated by strong dispersal barriers. In Colorado, Prosimulium neomacropyga is found exclusively in small, headwater streams at elevations greater than 3,450 meters above sea level, and Metacnephia coloradensis follows a similar distribution, but is limited to lake outlets and is rarer. P. neomacropyga adults do not take a blood meal, and M. coloradensis adults do not feed at all. We hypothesize that, because both conditions above are met, both species will exhibit significant population subdivision between drainages; however, because M. coloradensis requires an even more specialized habitat and their adults do not disperse to feed, we hypothesize stronger substructuring for this species.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, headwater streams, population genetic structure, Prosimulium neomacropyga, Metacnephia coloradensis, blackfly species, Colorado, CO, Colorado Rocky Mountains.

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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