Date of Award


Document type


Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Organismic and Evolutionary Biology

First Advisor

Laura A. Katz

Second Advisor

Benjamin B. Normark

Third Advisor

Michael E. Hood

Subject Categories

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


My dissertation explores several aspects of the relationship between morphological and molecular evolution in amoeboid lineages:

Chapter 1 - General Introduction: This chapter provides an overview of the most pressing issues in Amoebozoa phylogeny that are dealt with in the remainder of the thesis

Chapter 2 - Reducing the impact of PCR-mediated recombination in molecular evolution and environmental studies using a new generation high fidelity DNA polymerase: This chapter addresses the methodological difficulty in the study of large gene families, the generation of artifactual sequences by recombination during PCR.

Chapter 3 - Evolution of the actin gene family in testate lobose amoebae (Arcellinida) is characterized by two distinct clades of paralogs and recent independent expansions: This chapter explores intriging patterns of evolution in the actin gene families of testate amoebae.

Chapter 4 - Comprehensive phylogenetic reconstruction of Amoebozoa based on concatenated analysis of SSU-rDNA and actin genes: A deep phylogenetic analyses of the Amoebozoa, enables exploration of well supported taxonomic units within the group.

Chapter 5 - Interpreting the evolutionary history of the Tubulinea (Amoebozoa), in light of a multigene phylogeny: This chapter explores a more restrict taxonomic unit within the Amoebozoa - the Tubulinea - based on an expanded sample of genes and taxa.

Chapter 6 - The chastity of amoebae: re-evaluating evidence for sex in amoeboid organisms: This chapter asks whether the null-hypothesis that amoebae are asexual is consistent with current phylogenetic evidence