Student NameDani Hayes
Faculty Mentor NameDr. David Blackburn
CollegeFlorida Museum of Natural History
MinorWildlife Ecology and Conservation
Research InterestsPhylogenetics, Herpetology, Genetics
Academic AwardsUDE Travel grant recipient, PhD Prepatory Program recipient
Hobbies and InterestsReptiles and Amphibians, Reading, Sewing, Gardening

Research Project

Testing the Forest Refuge Hypothesis: Comparative Phylogeography of Three African Rocket Frog (Ptychadena) Species.

For my project I am examining amphibian diversity and evolution in western Central Africa. We have chosen to focus on the forest-specialist frog, Ptychadena aequiplicata, and its closely related, savanna dwelling relatives, P. bibroni and P. porosissima. Ptychadena (common name: Rocket frog) are an ideal group for studying the influence of historical habitat fluctuations because closely related species exclusively occupy savanna or forest habitats. Because misidentifications are so common for this genus, the first step of this project is to genetically barcode all of the Ptychadena samples with tissues in museums in western Central Africa (n = 400. Using ddRAD sequence I will compare demographic signatures between the three focal species to test the Forest Refuge Hypothesis (FRH). Under the FRH I expect to see signatures of species expansion within P. aequiplicata (the forest dwelling species) and signature of species contraction within P. bibroni and P. porosissima, as a reflection of historical forest expansion since the last interglacial.