ARC Discovery Project grant awarded to Professor Steven Cooper

Can parasites cause host population divergence?

Led by Flinders College of Science and Engineering Associate Professor Michael Gardner with Professor Steven Cooper from University of Adelaide the project has been awarded $401,030 in funding over the next four years.

(DP200102880) Parasites have been proposed to be drivers of population divergence, and ultimately speciation, yet the dynamics of this process are not well understood. This project will utilise new genomic techniques, novel hybrid zone analyses, and data on mate choice, to investigate the hypothesis that parasites drive population divergence through an interaction with immune response genes in the sleepy lizard Tiliqua rugosa. This species provides an unprecedented system, backed by 37 years of long term host-parasite and behavioural data, and recent genetic analyses. This project intends to produce significant data to allow an examination of the early stages of host-parasite evolution in action, providing novel insights into the speciation process.

The worldwide team also includes:

  • Dr Terry Bertozzi SA Museum
  • Professor Robert Miller University of New Mexico
  • Professor Andrew Sih University of California
  • Dr Stephanie Godfrey University of Otago, New Zealand.

View the Minister’s Schedule.

Image: Steve Cooper

Post image: Sleepy lizard Tiliqua rugosa Monarco Nature Encyclopedia from

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