Patterns & processes of cryptic species: understanding hidden diversity in the ocean

Le 19 Avril 2024
11h30 Hybrid - online and Salle Louis Thaler, bat 22 UM


Department of Biology, Albion College, Albion, Michigan, USA

Link to seminar: TBA

Cryptic species (CS) are reproductively isolated units that are morphologically indistinguishable, which have been increasingly identified with the rise of molecular markers. Overlooking or ignoring CS can mean misestimating ecological parameters, including measures of biodiversity or connectivity. Despite this, it is unclear what factors might predispose a taxon to show CS. We conducted a literature review and identified over 900 CS complexes in free-living marine animals. We then used this database to identify which groups were more or less likely to contain CS by testing hypotheses relating to history of science, biogeography, and taxonomy. The same database was then used to test hypotheses about how CS are formed, with the goal of understanding basic evolutionary principles. We investigated the idea that CS are primarily taxa requiring revision, versus biological processes that could be neutral or selective. Although we focused on marine animals, we expect the results that we found to hold across habitats and taxa, and estimate that a few thousand CS remain to be discovered in marine metazoans.


Watch previous seminars on our YouTube channel:



Frédérique Viard (UMR ISEM):