Awardee: Ioana Anghel
Department: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Ioana Anghel is a second year Ph.D. student in the Zapata Lab, studying the evolution of plant diversity. She investigates the process of speciation in the young and highly polymorphic plant genus Linanthus. She is interested in the drivers of diversification and how taxa maintain their phenotypic and genetic identity while co-existing in a small area with the potential to hybridize. Prior to graduate school, she was a biological technician, surveying public lands for rare and invasive species and collecting native seed for restoration projects.
How do young species maintain their boundaries despite incomplete reproductive isolation? Allopatric speciation is widely accepted, but support is mounting for speciation with gene flow. The annual plant genus Linanthus has wide morphological variation, multiple color polymorphic species and young sister taxa that occur in sympatry, making it an ideal group to study species boundaries. To investigate divergence with gene flow, I will examine signals of differentiation in Linathus sister species. This project will clarify the conservation units in taxa that experience gene flow, by determining the genetic and phenotypic cohesion and estimate genome-wide levels of divergence and gene flow.