Population Genetic Structure of Two Blackfly (Simuliidae) Species in High-Elevation Headwater Streams of the Colorado Rocky MountainsEPA 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: Michaud, Jayne
Project Period: January 1, 2001 through January 1, 2004
Project Amount: $77,696
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2001) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
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.