Yale Peabody Museum Summer Internships

Patterns of speciation in the Longnose Darter Complex, Percina nasuta

Advisor: Professor Tom Near (YPM Curator of Vertebrate Zoology)


Length: 8 weeks in the summer


Project Description:

Eastern North America contains more species of freshwater fishes than any non-tropical region on Earth. Since the 1950s there has been continuous discovery and description of new species of North American freshwater fishes. The application of molecular genetic data has contributed to the description of new species, but has also led to the discovery of distinct lineages masquerading as long-recognized species. The Longnose Darter, Percina nasuta, is restricted to the Ozark Highlands of Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma and is a species of conservation concern. Preliminary analyses of morphology and mtDNA gene sequences indicate there are several undescribed species masquerading as P. nasuta. This project will expand the morphological data and generate a genome-wide DNA sequence dataset of ~50,000 genes. An understanding of species diversity in this lineage will allow investigation into the mechanisms that generate high biodiversity in eastern North America.


Outcomes: Specimens for the YPM fish collection, a genomic ddRADseq dataset, and the basis for a peer-reviewed scientific publication.


Costs: Field work and laboratory costs associated with DNA sequencing. All covered by available research funds.


Stipend: $3000