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THE EVOLUTION OF THE PLACENTA

In the Fish Family Poeciliidae

I am interested in studying the evolutionary consequences of placentation. In the livebearing fish family Poeciliidae, placentation has evolved independently at least eight times. Additionally, for each species with a placenta, there is (in most cases) a sister species lacking a placenta. I aim to identify costs and benefits to this reproductive strategy as well as potential mechanisms of speciation resulting from parent-offspring conflict associated with placentation through testing predictions of the viviparity-driven conflict hypothesis.

 

A corollary of the shift towards internal, post-zygotic maternal provisioning is that there is a shift away from pre-copulatory sexual selection, and towards post-copulatory sexual selection. I am interested in investigating the potential for sperm competition and cryptic female choice (post-copulation) and examine how these factors influence paternity and subsequent maternal allocation based on paternal genotype. I am working on these questions in species with and without placentas to look for differences between species with different reproductive modes. 

SAMANTHA LEVELL

PhD Candidate at the University of California, Riverside

ABOUT ME

I grew up in Florida, surrounded by incredible fresh and saltwater ecosystems. Through my adventures in these habitats, I developed a love for fishes and fish keeping. I began my career as a scientist studying the Least Killifish, Heterandria formosa, as an undergraduate in Joseph Travis' lab at Florida State University. I am continuing my passion for researching fishes now as a PhD student in David Reznick's lab at the University of California, Riverside.

CONTACT ME

University of California, Riverside

I am always on the lookout for collaborations!

Feel free to contact me at: 

samantha.levell(at)email.ucr.edu

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