Major

Biology

Research Abstract

In the frog genus Occidozyga, there is one described species which inhabits Myanmar. However, population estimates for Occidozyga within the country may be inaccurate given unidentified cryptic species. We predict that in Occidozyga, there are more morphologically identical phenotypes- ‘cryptics’- which are actually genetically distinct. Using DNA sequences isolated in the lab at USF from preserved specimens housed at the California Academy of Science, we’ve been able to conduct phylogenetic tree analysis. Preliminary results suggest the presence of two new species within the genus. Phylogeographic analysis of our tree also supports the genetic clustering, such that their evolutionary distribution is likely spatially based on the topography of Myanmar. From these findings, we expect to continue to gain support for additional undescribed species in Occidozyga. Myanmar’s rich biodiversity has many identified threatened species, but more cryptics may go extinct before identification.

Faculty Mentor/Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Dever

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Apr 13th, 12:00 AM

How Frogs are Hiding in Plain Sight: Phylogenetic Systematics of Myanmar’s Occidozya Species Complex

In the frog genus Occidozyga, there is one described species which inhabits Myanmar. However, population estimates for Occidozyga within the country may be inaccurate given unidentified cryptic species. We predict that in Occidozyga, there are more morphologically identical phenotypes- ‘cryptics’- which are actually genetically distinct. Using DNA sequences isolated in the lab at USF from preserved specimens housed at the California Academy of Science, we’ve been able to conduct phylogenetic tree analysis. Preliminary results suggest the presence of two new species within the genus. Phylogeographic analysis of our tree also supports the genetic clustering, such that their evolutionary distribution is likely spatially based on the topography of Myanmar. From these findings, we expect to continue to gain support for additional undescribed species in Occidozyga. Myanmar’s rich biodiversity has many identified threatened species, but more cryptics may go extinct before identification.