My PhD project deals with the nuisance raphidophyte Gonyostomum semen, which is spreading nowadays in Swedish lakes. Because of the wide dispersal of this algae, a high genetic diversity exists within this species. I want to determine, if despite possible gene flow between well-connected habitats different populations establish in close lakes.
It is hypothesized that large genetic differentiation between such habitats can occur by rapid population growth after historical founder events. This is enhanced by a large genetic reservoir consisting of resting cysts, which buffers against new immigrants, and rapid adaptation of the resident population to local condition. Thus, initial colonizers will strongly dominate the genetic structure and the complete microhabitat. I'm going to test this monopolization hypothesis on laboratory cultures and on mesocosm experiments. This work involves molecular techniques and population genetics. Furthermore, I'm going to test phenotypic variations by different bioassays as high genetic diversity may indicate high potential for adaptability of the populations.
Main advisor: Karin Rengefors