Puetz, Lara

From MolEvol
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I am working on my Master’s thesis at the University of Victoria studying population genetics in hydrothermal vent tubeworms. I am a part of a larger population connectivity project that arose from the question of how to draw conservation boundaries and define use in a marine protected area. This work uses a simple system, hydrothermal vents, and the most significant species of the Endeavour Marine Protected Area (MPA), the vestimentiferan tubeworm. The tubeworm Ridgeia piscesae is an ecosystem engineer and highly variable morphotypes depending on its local habitat. The goal of my study is to assess the connectivity among worm forms and vent field sites in this metapopulation using genetic data. We hope to identify whether all individuals contribute equally to the overall population or whether some areas or worms types should be considered when establishing MPA zoning.