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The Chronicles of Junonia: Adventures in Butterfly Biology
October 16, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Speaker: Jeffrey M. Marcus
University of Manitoba
The Marcus laboratory studies the genomic origins, development, evolution, and diversification of butterfly and color patterns, with a particular focus on the buckeye butterflies (genus Junonia). This system is a wonderful model for understanding butterfly biology because it permits the integrated study of phenotypic traits at many levels of organization from genetics and cell biology to ecology and behavior. In this talk, I will be sharing some of our recent scientific adventures with butterflies, as we use genomic tools to test hypotheses about how new species are made, disperse to new habitats (sometimes across enormous distances), and adapt to extreme high-elevation environments. The new tools we have developed allow us to use museum specimens to easily and inexpensively expand our geographic sampling far beyond what we could ever collect ourselves. More importantly, they will help us unleash the hidden riches of natural history collections both for buckeye butterflies and for many other kinds of organisms, by adding an important 4th dimension (time) to studies of evolution, population genetics, conservation biology, and for documenting organismal responses to climate change.