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K-State Today

October 6, 2016

Division of Biology Seminar Oct. 7

Submitted by Division of Biology

Benjamin Fitzpatrick

Benjamin Fitzpatrick, University of Tennessee, will present "Hybridization and the species problem in evolution and conservation" as part of the Division of Biology Seminar Series at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7, in 221 Ackert Hall.

The abstract for the lecture is based off of most biologists recognizing the "species phenomenon" as a real pattern in nature: Biodiversity is characterized by discontinuities between recognizable groups classified as species. However, species are not fixed. Discontinuities evolve gradually and sometimes disappear. Hybridization between taxonomic species reminds us that species classification is not a perfect representation of nature. Classification is a model that is very useful, but not adequate in all cases. Conservationists often confront questions about how to apply species-based laws when hybridization confounds classification.

Fitzpatrick's research has addressed questions about hybridization between native and invasive species, legal classification in the face of gene flow, and the role of hybridization in the origin of new species. Fitzpatrick uses these examples to argue that the basic study of species and speciation has exposed the need for deeper education in genetics and evolution for applied conservationists and decision makers.

If you would like to visit with Fitzpatrick, contact Elizabeth Everman at evermane@k-state.edu