- Ecology and evolution
- Climate change
- Polar and sub-polar ecosystems
- Mechanisms of biotic dispersal
Office telephone: +32-2-6503218
Main project: Does the Great Spruce Bark Beetle (Dendroctonus micans) mate exclusively with its siblings?
The Great Spruce Bark Beetle (Dendroctonus micans) has an intriguing life history, with an apparently purely endogamous mating system. Gravid females bore solitary egg galleries beneath the bark of spruce trees. The gregarious larvae initially feed together but, at the onset of pupation, separate into individual niches. As young adults they gather together again in the brood chamber to mate. Except under outbreak conditions, brood chambers are isolated and rarely intersect. This system ensures that mating is purely among siblings. However, observations of reproductively viable adult males flying through the forest raises the question of whether exogamous matings can and do occur for D. micans. As a postdoctoral fellow under the supervision of Professors Jean-Claude Grégoire and Patrick Mardulyn at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium), I aim to use a combination of laboratory and field experiments, and genetic techniques, to test whether: 1) multiple matings can occur; 2) such matings lead to some or all progeny being sired by the less-related latecomer (e.g., via sperm competition); 3) females would preferentially mate with less-related males; and 4) exogamous matings increase progeny fitness. This work is funded by the FNRS of Belgium.
Left image: Immature adult Dendroctonus micans; Right image: D. micans larvae feeding gregariously [photos courtesy of J-C Grégoire]
Recent project: Determining the impact of historic climate change on subantarctic littoral ecosystems.
Understanding the rate, severity and evolutionary impacts of past climate change is fundamental to predicting the biological effects of future climate change. Studies that compare patterns of genetic diversity across broad geographic gradients (e.g., latitudes) can give signficant insights into the evolutionary impacts of historic climate change. Our recent phylogeographic research on a widespread Southern Hemisphere kelp species (bull kelp: Durvillaea antarctica) indicated that the extent of Antarctic sea ice at the Last Glacial Maximum may have been underestimated by previous studies (see Fraser et al. 2009). My research at the University of Otago (New Zealand) aimed to use phylogeographic analysis of a wide range of macroalgal species (both ice-sensitive and ice-resilient intertidal taxa) throughout the Southern Ocean to assess 1) whether sea ice indeed extended further north than previously believed, and 2) the ecological and evolutionary impacts of historic ice scour on Southern Ocean islands. This research was funded by the Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution, and was connected to a Marsden-funded project: Rafting communities in the West Wind Drift: the importance of buoyant kelp, with Associate Professor Jonathan Waters and Professor Hamish Spencer.
Collecting bull-kelp (Durvillaea antarctica) samples on subantarctic Marion Island, 2007
- Peer reviewed
Fraser CI [in press] Is bull-kelp kelp? The role of common names in science. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research.
Gillespie RG, Waters JW, Fraser CI, Nikula R, Baldwin BG & Roderick GK (2012) Long-distance dispersal – a framework for hypothesis testing. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 27:47-55. [doi:10.1016/j.tree.2011.08.009]
Fraser CI, Spencer HG & Waters JM (2012) Durvillaea poha sp. nov. (Fucales, Phaeophyceae): a buoyant southern bull-kelp species endemic to New Zealand. Phycologia, 51:151–156.
Smith AM, Kregting L, Fern S & Fraser CI (2011) Sedimentology of a wreck: the Rainbow Warrior revisited. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 62:2412–2419. [doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2011.08.028]
Fraser CI, Nikula R & Waters JM (2011) Oceanic rafting of a coastal community. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, B, 278:649-655 [doi: 10.1098/rspb.2010.1117]
Fraser CI, Winter DJ, Spencer HG & Waters JM (2010) Multigene phylogeny of the southern bull-kelp genus Durvillaea (Phaeophyceae: Fucales). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 57:1301–1311 [doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2010.10.011]
Smith AM, Wood ACL, Liddy MFA, Shears A, Fraser CI (2010) Human impacts in an urban port: the carbonate budget, Otago Harbour, New Zealand. Estuarine, Coastal & Shelf Science, 90:73-79 [doi:10.1016/j.ecss.2010.07.004]
Collins CJ, Fraser CI, Ashcroft A & Waters JM (2010) Asymmetric dispersal of southern bull-kelp (Durvillaea antarctica) adults in coastal New Zealand: testing an oceanographic hypothesis. Molecular Ecology, 19:4572–4580. [doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2010.04842.x]
Fraser CI, Thiel M, Spencer HG & Waters JM (2010) Contemporary habitat discontinuity and historic glacial ice drive genetic divergence in Chilean kelp. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 10:203 [doi:10.1186/1471-2148-10-203]
Nikula R, Fraser CI, Spencer HG, Waters JM (2010) Circumpolar dispersal by rafting in two subantarctic kelp-dwelling crustaceans. Marine Ecology-Progress Series, 405:221-230 [doi: 10.3354/meps08523]
Fraser CI, Nikula R, Spencer HG & Waters JM (2009) Kelp genes reveal effects of subantarctic sea ice during the Last Glacial Maximum. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 106:3249-3253 [doi: 10.1073/pnas.0810635106]
Fraser CI, Spencer HG & Waters JM (2009) Glacial oceanographic contrasts explain phylogeography of Australian bull kelp. Molecular Ecology, 18:2287–2296 [doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2009.04201.x]
Fraser CI, Hay CH, Spencer HG & Waters JM (2009) Genetic and morphological analyses of the southern bull kelp Durvillaea antarctica (Phaeophyceae: Durvillaeales) in New Zealand reveal cryptic species. Journal of Phycology, 45: 436-443 [doi: 10.1111/j.1529-8817.2009.00658.x]
Fraser C, Hutchings PA & Williamson JE (2006) Long-term changes in polychaete assemblages of Botany Bay (NSW, Australia) following a dredging event. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 52(9): 997-1010 [doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2005.12.016]
Fraser C, Capa M & Schuchert P (2006) European hydromedusa Eleutheria dichotoma (Anthomedusae: Cladonematidae) found at high densities in New South Wales, Australia: distribution, biology and habitat. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 86: 699-703 [doi:10.1017/S0025315406013592]
Fraser, Ceridwen (2009) Phylogeography of the kelp genus Durvillaea (Phaeophyceae: Fucales). Doctoral thesis, University of Otago: Dunedin, New Zealand.
Fraser, Ceridwen (2009) An Icier Ice Age. Australasian Science, June 2009
Fraser, C, Capa, M and Schuchert, P (2006) These Arms are Made for
Walking: Tiny ‘walking jellyfish’ patrol intertidal algae.
JMBA Global Marine Environment, 4:6-7
- Media highlights
ScienceNOW [online news page of Science journal]. Kelp
Raft Carries Marine Stowaways Hundreds of Kilometers. Author:
Cassandra Willyard. September 2010.
- Shorter version published in print in Science.
Australian Geographic. Sea creatures set sail on rafts of kelp. Author: Julian Swallow. September 2010.
ABC Science. Stowaways found hitching ride on seaweed. Author: Katherine Nightingale. September 2010.
Reuters. Kelp genetics reveals Ice Age climate clues. Author: David Fogarty. February 2009.
Cosmos. Last Ice Age colder than we thought. Author: Gillian Shaw. February 2009.
New Zealand National Radio [interview]. Bull Kelp. Interview conducted by: Alison Ballance. January 2009.