The Origin, Meaning, And Detection Of Clusters in Population Genetic Data

Open Access
Wham, Francis Condon
Graduate Program:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
December 10, 2015
Committee Members:
  • Todd C Lajeunesse, Dissertation Advisor
  • Stephen Wade Schaeffer, Committee Chair
  • Iliana Brigitta Baums, Committee Member
  • George H Perry, Special Member
  • Population Genetics
  • Symbiodinium
  • Species
In light of modern genetic techniques, there is growing awareness that taxonomic designations of do not reflect biological reality. When hidden species boundaries go undetected they cause spurious conclusions about biology. Here I discuss several new analytical approaches useful for finding and making inferences from clusters in genetic data. I then apply these techniques to the results of several recent studies and highlight how critical errors in interpretation might have been avoided by first resolving species boundaries. I then show that these approaches are an important first step in connectivity studies. Finally, I highlight the critical role they have played in justifying the taxonomic status of several new species of Symbiodinium.