Felix A H Sperling

Felix A H Sperling
University of Alberta | UAlberta · Department of Biological Sciences

PhD Cornell University 1991

About

620
Publications
67,447
Reads
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8,334
Citations
Introduction
Felix A H Sperling currently works at the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta. Felix does research in Entomology, Evolutionary Biology and Systematics (Taxonomy).
Additional affiliations
January 2004 - August 2004
Australian Government
Position
  • Sabbatical
May 1999 - December 2012
University of Alberta
Position
  • Professor (Full)
September 1994 - August 2000
University of California, Berkeley
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)

Publications

Publications (620)
Article
Full-text available
Insects have developed various adaptations to survive harsh winter conditions. Among freeze-intolerant species, some produce “antifreeze proteins” (AFPs) that bind to nascent ice crystals and inhibit further ice growth. Such is the case of the spruce budworm, Choristoneura fumiferana (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), a destructive North American conifer...
Preprint
Full-text available
The past century has witnessed an explosion of anthropogenic activity, resulting in land use and climate changes on a global scale. The study of butterflies provides a unique window into the biological impacts of these changes. In this chapter, we explore several case studies that demonstrate the power of butterflies, both as model organisms in the...
Article
Divergence times underpin diverse evolutionary hypotheses, but conflicting age estimates across studies diminish the validity of such hypotheses. These conflicts have continued to grow as large genomics datasets become commonplace and analytical approaches proliferate. To provide more stable temporal intervals, age estimations should be interpreted...
Article
Recent advances in both genomics and ecological modelling present new, multidisciplinary opportunities for resolving species boundaries and understanding the mechanisms that maintain their integrity in regions of contact. Here, we use a combination of high‐throughput DNA sequencing and ecological niche modelling to resolve species boundaries and ni...
Article
Full-text available
Temporal separation of reproductive timing can contribute to species diversification both through allochronic speciation and later reinforcement of species boundaries. Such phenological differences are an enigmatic component of evolutionary divergence between two major forest defoliator species of the spruce budworm complex: Choristoneura fumiferan...
Article
Full-text available
Conservation biologists have long debated the value of subspecies, which are morphologically and geographically identifiable but not necessarily evolutionarily distinctive. One example of a controversial subspecies is Cicindela formosa gibsoni, a tiger beetle that is nationally listed as threatened in Canada and whose taxonomic status is based prim...
Article
Full-text available
Dispersal flights by the mountain pine beetle have allowed range expansion and major damage to pine stands in western Canada. We asked what the genetic and transcriptional basis of mountain pine beetle dispersal capacity is. Using flight mills, RNA-seq and a targeted association study, we compared strong-flying, weak-flying, and non-flying female b...
Article
Genome sequencing methods and assembly tools have improved dramatically since the 2013 publication of draft genome assemblies for the mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). We conducted proximity ligation library sequencing and scaffolding to improve contiguity, and then used linkage mapping and recent bi...
Preprint
Genome sequencing methods and assembly tools have improved dramatically since the 2013 publication of draft genome assemblies for the mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). We conducted proximity ligation library sequencing and scaffolding to improve contiguity, and then used linkage mapping and recent bi...
Preprint
Genome sequencing methods and assembly tools have improved dramatically since the 2013 publication of draft genome assemblies for the mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). We conducted proximity ligation library sequencing and scaffolding to improve contiguity, and then used linkage mapping and recent bi...
Article
Full-text available
The island species area relationship (ISAR) is an important tool for measuring variation in species diversity in variety of insular systems, from true‐island archipelagoes to fragmented terrestrial landscapes. However, it suffers from several limitations. For example, due to the sample‐area effect, positive relationships between species and area ca...
Article
The mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) is a significant destructive force in the pine forests of western Canada and has the capacity to spread east into a novel host tree species, jack pine (Pinaceae). New populations have been documented in central Alberta, Canada, but the source populations for thes...
Article
Full-text available
The mega-diversity of herbivorous insects is attributed to their co-evolutionary associations with plants. Despite abundant studies on insect-plant interactions, we do not know whether host-plant shifts have impacted both genomic adaptation and species diversification over geological times. We show that the antagonistic insect-plant interaction bet...
Article
Full-text available
Lyme disease-causing Borrelia burgdorferi has been reported in 10–19% of Ixodes ticks from Alberta, Canada, where the tick vector Ixodes scapularis is at the northwestern edge of its range. However, the presence of Borrelia has not been verified independently, and the bacterial microbiome of these ticks has not been described. We performed 16S rRNA...
Article
Allochronic isolation can be a strong mechanism for reproductive isolation and speciation. However, imperfect allochrony and the expression of phenological plasticity can erode temporal barriers to gene flow and result in hybridization between divergent lineages. Here, we combine behavioural ecology and genomics to investigate this scenario in two...
Article
Previous work in landscape genetics suggests that geographic isolation is of greater importance to genetic divergence than variation in environmental conditions. This is intuitive when configurations of suitable habitat are the dominant factor limiting dispersal and gene flow, but has not been thoroughly examined for habitat specialists with strong...
Article
Genomics has revolutionized our understanding of hybridization and introgression, but most of the early evidence for these processes came from studies of mitochondrial introgression. To expand these evolutionary insights from mitochondrial patterns, we evaluate phylogenetic discordance across the nuclear genomes of a hybridizing system, the Papilio...
Article
The bacterial microbiome of ticks is notoriously diverse, but the factors leading to this diversity are poorly understood. We sequenced bacterial 16S rRNA amplicons from individual winter ticks, Dermacentor albipictus, to assess whether their one-host life cycle is associated with reduced bacterial diversity. On average, about 100 bacterial genera...
Preprint
Full-text available
The exuberant proliferation of herbivorous insects is attributed to their associations with plants. Despite abundant studies on insect-plant interactions, we do not know whether host-plant shifts have impacted both genomic adaptation and species diversification over geological times. We show that the antagonistic insect-plant interaction between sw...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract The spruce budworm, Choristoneura fumiferana, is presumed to be panmictic across vast regions of North America. We examined the extent of panmixia by genotyping 3,650 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) loci in 1975 individuals from 128 collections across the continent. We found three spatially structured subpopulations: Western (Alaska,...
Article
Subtle morphological differences can be essential to diagnosing closely related species, and an understanding of the genetic basis of these characters can contribute to understanding their divergences. We used voucher specimens from previous genetic analyses of population structure to subsequently analyse genome‐wide associations linking morphology...
Article
The systematics of Speyeria butterflies has historically been complicated by intraspecific variability that has challenged efforts to delimit species and reconstruct phylogenies. Our study presents a phylogenetic comparison of genomic single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and mitochondrial COI gene sequences, with comprehensive taxon sampling that...
Article
The mountain pine beetle (MPB; Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins, 1902) forms beneficial symbiotic associations with fungi. Here we explored the fine-scale spatial genetic structure of three of those fungi using single nucleotide polymorphism. We found that single mated pairs of beetles carry not only multiple fungal species, but also multiple genoty...
Article
Butterflies have played a pivotal role in our understanding of animal movement, but little is known about landscape-scale movement in highly vagile species with large ranges and open population structure. We investigate the effect of environment and landscape on both inter- and intraspecific genetic differentiation and population structure in the P...
Article
Evolutionary relationships have remained unresolved in many well-studied groups, even though advances in next-generation sequencing and analysis, using approaches such as transcriptomics, anchored hybrid enrichment, or ultraconserved elements, have brought systematics to the brink of whole genome phylogenomics. Recently, it has become possible to s...
Article
Full-text available
Genetic surveys of the population structure of species can be used as resources for exploring their genomic architecture. By adjusting filtering assumptions, genome‐wide single‐nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) datasets can be reused to give new insights into the genetic basis of divergence and speciation without targeted resampling of specimens. Filte...
Article
Phylogeography infers patterns of migration, demography and historical relationships from genetic data. Such studies have been particularly useful in understanding vicariance and colonization processes in pest species. Using a low-density SNP data set we investigated the range-wide phylogeography of mountain pine beetle in North America using Appro...
Article
Full-text available
Phylogeography infers patterns of migration, demography, and historical relationships from genetic data. Such studies have been particularly useful in understanding vicariance and colonization processes in pest species. Using a low-density single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data set we investigated the range-wide phylogeography of mountain pine b...
Article
Shads of the genus Alosa are essential to commercial fisheries across North America and Europe, but in some areas their species boundaries remain controversial. Traditional morphology‐based taxonomy of Alosa spp. has relied heavily on the number of gill rakers and body proportions, but these can be highly variable. We use mitochondrial (mt)DNA (coI...
Article
Full-text available
Environmental change is altering forest insect dynamics worldwide. As these systems change, they pose significant ecological, social and economic risk through, for example, the loss of valuable habitat, green space and timber. Our understanding of such systems is often limited by the complexity of multiple interacting taxa. Thus, studies assessing...
Article
Full-text available
Conservation geneticists have argued that evolutionarily significant units (ESUs) must be both genetically distinct and adaptively significant to be recognized for conservation protection. High-throughput DNA approaches can greatly increase the power to identify genetic distinctiveness, even if inferring adaptive significance remains a challenge. H...
Article
Patterns in the genetic variation of species can be used to infer their specific demographic and evolutionary history and provide insight into the general mechanisms underlying population divergence and speciation. The Macoun’s Arctic (Oeneis macounii (W.H. Edwards, 1885); MA) butterfly occurs across Canada and parts of the northern United States i...
Article
• Intrinsic factors influencing the dispersal of insect pests during outbreaks are poorly understood, yet these factors need to be quantified to parameterize dispersal in models that predict population spread. The present study related wing and body morphology of female mountain pine beetles (Dendroctonus ponderosae) to flight distance, as measured...
Article
Widely known for pest species that include major modulators of temperate forests, the genus Choristoneura is part of the species‐rich tribe Archipini of leafroller moths (Tortricidae). Delimitation of the genus has remained unresolved because no phylogeny has included species endemic to Africa and studies have often omitted the type species of the...
Conference Paper
Choristoneura species are well known as temperate forest pests, but delimitation of the genus has remained unresolved. Taxonomic confusion increased when Archips occidentalis (Walsingham) was transferred to Choristoneura, creating a homonym with Choristoneura occidentalis Freeman. We reconstructed a phylogeny using DNA for mitochondrial COI and nuc...
Article
Full-text available
Genome structure characterization can contribute to a better understanding of processes such as adaptation, speciation, and karyotype evolution, and can provide useful information for refining genome assemblies. We studied the genome of an important North American boreal forest pest, the spruce budworm, Choristoneura fumiferana, through a combinati...
Article
Species delimitation and identification are integral to virtually all biological disciplines, but are far from straightforward tasks. Taxonomy has recently focused on integrative approaches that consider multiple types of data to resolve species boundaries, yet methodologies to that end are still being developed. Here, we assess species limits in a...
Article
1.Sampling markers throughout a genome with restriction enzymes emerged in the 2000s as reduced representation shotgun sequencing (RRS). Rapid advances in sequencing technology have since spurred modifications of RRS, giving rise to many derivatives with unique names, such as restriction site‐associated DNA sequencing (RADseq). But naming conventio...
Data
Supplemenary Infromation: Condamine FL, Rolland J, Höhna S, Sperling FAH, Sanmartín I (2018) Data from: Testing the role of the Red Queen and Court Jester as drivers of the macroevolution of Apollo butterflies. Dryad Digital Repository. https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.32bp4
Preprint
Full-text available
Sampling markers throughout a genome with restriction enzymes emerged in the 2000s as reduced representation shotgun sequencing (RRS). Rapid advances in sequencing technology have since spurred modifications of RRS, giving rise to many derivatives with unique names, such as RADseq. But naming conventions have often been more creative than consisten...
Article
Climate change is causing rapid shifts in species’ range limits, leading to poleward expansions and range losses toward the equator. However, “climate debt”, the gap between required and realized range shifts under changing climates, can accumulate when species are unable to track shifting conditions sufficiently rapidly to keep pace with climate c...
Article
Swallowtail butterflies (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae) have been instrumental in understanding many foundational concepts in biology; despite this, a resolved and robust phylogeny of the group has been a major impediment to elucidating patterns and processes of their ecological and evolutionary history. This study presents a mitogenomic, time-calibrat...
Article
Full-text available
In macroevolution, the Red Queen (RQ) model posits that biodiversity dynamics depend mainly on species-intrinsic biotic factors such as interactions among species or life-history traits, while the Court Jester (CJ) model states that extrinsic environmental abiotic factors have a stronger role. Until recently, a lack of relevant methodological appro...
Article
The invasion of mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopk.) into Alberta has been an ongoing concern for forest management. The beetle's recent appearance and spread in Jasper National Park now poses ecological and economic threats to forestry in regions to the east. By applying recent advances in genetic typing and analysis, we show that...
Article
Full-text available
The aim was to determine processes driving the latitudinal diversity gradient (LDG) in New World swallowtail butterfly diversity. We tested three mechanisms commonly invoked to explain the LDG: ecological opportunity, evolutionary rates and biogeographical history. New World and Eurasia. Oligocene–Present. New World swallowtail butterfly clade (Pap...
Preprint
Full-text available
In macroevolution, the Red Queen (RQ) model posits that biodiversity dynamics depend mainly on species-intrinsic biotic factors such as interactions among species or life-history traits, while the Court Jester (CJ) model states that extrinsic environmental abiotic factors have a stronger role. Until recently, a lack of relevant methodological appro...
Chapter
This chapter reviews the molecular dimensions of insect taxonomy by focusing on high-throughput sequencing and other genomic advances. It then focuses on three facets of the emerging relationship among taxonomy, systematics, and genomic methodology. The chapter addresses taxonomy conceptually, considering the four fundamental problems in taxonomic...
Article
Full-text available
High-throughput sequencing methods for genotyping genome-wide markers are being rapidly adopted for phylogenetics of non-model organisms in conservation and biodiversity studies. However, the reproducibility of SNP genotyping and degree of marker overlap or compatibility between datasets from different methodologies have not been tested in non-mode...
Article
High throughput sequencing technologies have revolutionized the potential to reconcile incongruence between gene and species trees, and numerous approaches have been developed to take advantage of these advances. Genotyping-by-sequencing is becoming a regular tool for gathering phylogenetic data, yet comprehensive evaluations of phylogenetic method...
Article
Bark beetles form multipartite symbiotic associations with blue stain fungi (Ophiostomatales, Ascomycota). These symbionts play an important role during the beetle's life cycle by providing nutritional supplementation, overcoming tree defenses and modifying host tissues to favor brood development. The maintenance of stable multipartite symbioses wi...
Article
Ticks vector diverse pathogenic bacteria that are important to identify in public health and veterinary contexts. Technological advances in high throughput sequencing have given an unprecedented opportunity to comprehensively characterize bacterial associates of ticks, but recent studies have used different 16S rRNA variable regions and sequence re...
Article
Full-text available
Tectonic dynamics and niche availability play intertwined roles in determining patterns of diversification. Such drivers explain the current distribution of many clades, whereas events such as the rise of angiosperms can have more specific impacts, such as on the diversification rates of herbivores. The Tortricidae, a diverse group of phytophagous...
Article
Full-text available
Species delimitation requires an assessment of varied traits that can contribute to reproductive isolation, as well as of the permanence of evolutionary differentiation among closely related lineages. Integrative taxonomy, including the combination of genome-wide molecular data with ecological data, offers an effective approach to this issue. We us...
Article
Full-text available
An understanding of mating systems and fine-scale spatial genetic structure is required to effectively manage forest pest species such as Dendroctonus ponderosae (mountain pine beetle). Here we used genome-wide single-nucleotide polymorphisms to assess the fine-scale genetic structure and mating system of D. ponderosae collected from a single stand...
Data
Table S1. Site locations, coordinates, and collection years of sampled mountain pine beetle. Table S3. Cluster assignment of individuals from DAPC analysis, all SNPs. Table S4. Cluster assignment of individuals from DAPC analysis, neutral markers. Table S5. Cluster assignment of individuals from DAPC analysis, adaptive markers. Figure S1. Clust...
Data
Table S2. Pairwise values of F ST calculated between mountain pine beetle populations.
Article
Full-text available
Assessments of population genetic structure and demographic history have traditionally been based on neutral markers while explicitly excluding adaptive markers. In this study, we compared the utility of putatively adaptive and neutral single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for inferring mountain pine beetle population structure across its geograph...
Article
Hybrid zones provide unique natural laboratories for studying mechanisms of evolution. But identification and classification of hybrid individuals (F1, F2, backcross, etc.) can be complicated by real population changes over time as well as by use of different marker types, both of which challenge documentation of hybrid dynamics. Here we use multip...
Article
Full-text available
Diapause that extends across multiple years is considered a bet-hedging strategy in insect species that are exposed to unfavorable environmental conditions. The dynamics of extended diapause in herbivores can be complicated when their parasitoids can also extend diapause, although our knowledge of these dynamics is based primarily on pest species....