Christina Zakas

University of Georgia, Athens, GA, United States

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Publications (6)14.62 Total impact

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    Christina Zakas, Ken Jones, John P Wares
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    ABSTRACT: A mitochondrial cline along the Chilean coast in the barnacle Notochthamalus scabrosus suggests a species history of transient allopatry and secondary contact. However, previous studies of nuclear sequence divergence suggested population genetic homogeneity across northern and central Chile. Here we collect SNP data from pooled population samples sequenced with RAD-seq procedures, confirm these data using a GoldenGate array, and identify a discordance between population genetic patterns in the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes. This discordance was noted in previous work on this species, but here it is confirmed that the nuclear genome exhibits only slight phylogeographic variation across 3000km of coastline, in the presence of a strong and statistically significant mitochondrial cline. There are nevertheless markers (approximately 5% of nuclear SNPs) exhibiting cytonuclear disequilibrium relative to mitotype. Although these data confirm our previous explorations of this species, it is likely that some of the nuclear genomic diversity of this species has yet to be explored, as comparison with other barnacle phylogeography studies suggest that a divergence of similar magnitude should be found in the nuclear genome somewhere else in the species range.
    G3-Genes Genomes Genetics 12/2013; · 1.79 Impact Factor
  • Christina Zakas, John P Wares
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    ABSTRACT: In many species, alternative developmental pathways lead to the production of two distinct phenotypes, promoting the evolution of morphological novelty and diversification. Offspring type in marine invertebrates influences transport time by ocean currents, which dictate dispersal potential and gene flow, and thus has sweeping evolutionary effects on the potential for local adaptation and on rates of speciation, extinction and molecular evolution. Here, we use the polychaete Streblospio benedicti to investigate the effects of dimorphic offspring type on gene flow and genetic structure in coastal populations. We use 84 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers for this species to assay populations on the East and West Coasts of the United States. Using these markers, we found that in their native East Coast distribution, populations of S. benedicti have high-population genetic structure, but this structure is associated primarily with geographic separation rather than developmental differences. Interestingly, very little genetic differentiation is recovered between individuals of different development types when they occur in the same or nearby populations, further supporting that this is a true case of poecilogony. In addition, we were able to demonstrate that the recently introduced (~100 ya) West Coast populations probably originated from a lecithotrophic population near Delaware.
    Molecular Ecology 10/2012; · 6.28 Impact Factor
  • Christina Zakas, David W Hall
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    ABSTRACT: Polymorphism in traits affecting dispersal occurs in a diverse variety of taxa. Typically, the maintenance of a dispersal polymorphism is attributed to environmental heterogeneity where parental bet-hedging can be favored. There are, however, examples of dispersal polymorphisms that occur across similar environments. For example, the estuarine polychaete Streblospio benedicti has a highly heritable offspring dimorphism that affects larval dispersal potential. We use analytical models of dispersal to determine the conditions necessary for a stable dispersal polymorphism to exist. We show that in asexual haploids, sexual haploids, and in sexual diploids in the absence of overdominance, asymmetric dispersal is required in order to maintain a dispersal polymorphism when patches do not vary in intrinsic quality. Our study adds an additional factor, dispersal asymmetry, to the short list of mechanisms that can maintain polymorphism in nature. The region of the parameter space in which polymorphism is possible is limited, suggesting why dispersal polymorphisms within species are rare.
    Integrative and Comparative Biology 05/2012; 52(1):197-212. · 3.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Next-generation sequencing technology is now frequently being used to develop genomic tools for non-model organisms, which are generally important for advancing studies of evolutionary ecology. One such species, the marine annelid Streblospio benedicti, is an ideal system to study the evolutionary consequences of larval life history mode because the species displays a rare offspring dimorphism termed poecilogony, where females can produce either many small offspring or a few large ones. To further develop S. benedicti as a model system for studies of life history evolution, we apply 454 sequencing to characterize the transcriptome for embryos, larvae, and juveniles of this species, for which no genomic resources are currently available. Here we performed a de novo alignment of 336,715 reads generated by a quarter GS-FLX (Roche 454) run, which produced 7,222 contigs. We developed a novel approach for evaluating the site frequency spectrum across the transcriptome to identify potential signatures of selection. We also developed 84 novel single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers for this species that are used to distinguish coastal populations of S. benedicti. We validated the SNPs by genotyping individuals of different developmental modes using the BeadXPress Golden Gate assay (Illumina). This allowed us to evaluate markers that may be associated with life-history mode.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(2):e31613. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    Marine Ecology-progress Series - MAR ECOL-PROGR SER. 01/2009; 394:165-177.
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    ABSTRACT: In free-spawning marine invertebrates, larval development typically proceeds by one of two modes: planktotrophy (obligate larval feeding) from small eggs or lecithotrophy (obligate non-feeding) from relatively large eggs. In a rare third developmental mode, facultative planktotrophy, larvae can feed, but do not require particulate food to complete metamorphosis. Facultative planktotrophy is thought to be an intermediate condition that results from an evolutionary increase in energy content in the small eggs of a planktotrophic ancestor. We tested whether an experimental reduction in egg size is sufficient to restore obligate planktotrophy from facultative planktotrophy and whether the two sources of larval nutrition (feeding and energy in the egg) differentially influence larval survival and juvenile quality. We predicted, based on its large egg size, that a reduction in egg size in the echinoid echinoderm Clypeaster rosaceus would affect juvenile size but not time to metamorphosis. We reduced the effective size of whole (W) zygotes by separating blastomeres at the two- or four-cell stages to create half- (H) or quarter-size (Q) “zygotes” and reared larvae to metamorphosis, both with and without particulate food. Larvae metamorphosed at approximately the same time regardless of food or egg size treatment. In contrast, juveniles that developed from W zygotes were significantly larger, had higher organic content and had longer and more numerous spines than juveniles from H or Q zygotes. Larvae from W, H and Q zygotes were able to reach metamorphosis without feeding, suggesting that the evolution of facultative planktotrophy in C. rosaceus was accompanied by more than a simple increase in egg size. In addition, our results suggest that resources lost by halving egg size have a larger effect on larval survival and juvenile quality than those lost by withholding particulate food.
    Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 01/2006;