Cuong Q. Tang


W1.2 Silwood Park Campus
Buckhurst Road

Phone: 02075942306

My scientific interest lie in the linking of ecology and evolution, in particular, the use of species delimitation and DNA taxonomy, phylogenetics, DNA and meta-barcoding to pull evolutionary entities with which to answer ecological questions. I have just submitted my PhD co-supervised by Prof. Tim Barraclough and Dr. Diego Fontaneto using rotifers as a model system to disentangle the ecological and evolutionary phenomena. Rotifers, bdelloid rotifers in particular, provide a unique and fascinating model system, not only is their ubiquity useful for ecological hypothesis testing, but their scandalous ancient asexuality provides an opportunity to investigate the evolution of sex. Intensive population sampling, traditional taxonomy and DNA taxonomy have allowed for a diverse array of research avenues.





I investigated:

1)      The use of 18S genetic marker as a tool for species delimitation [Tang C.Q. et al. (2012) The widely used 18S rDNA molecule underestimates biodiversity. PNAS 109, 16208–16212.]
2)      Using and evaluating species delimitation methods to better understand cryptic rotifer diversity. [Tang et al. (2014) Effects of phylogenetic reconstruction on the robustness of species delimitation methods using single-locus data. Methods in Ecology and Evolution doi:10.1111/2041-210X.12246.]
3)      Does the barcode gap exist? – A case study of asexual lineages
4)      Why do species exist as discrete entities? [Tang C.Q. et al. (2014) Sexual species are separated by larger genetic gaps than asexual species in rotifers. Evolution doi:10.1111/evo.12483.]
5)      The phylogenetic relationships between bdelloid genera


Tang, C.Q., Humphreys, A.M., Fontaneto, D. & Barraclough, T.G. (2014). Effects of phylogenetic reconstruction on the robustness of species delimitation methods using single-locus data. Methods in Ecology and Evolution doi:10.1111/2041-210X.12246.

Tang, C.Q., Obertegger, U, Fontaneto, D. & Barraclough, T.G. (2013). Sexual species are separated by larger genetic gaps than asexual species in rotifers. Evolution doi:10.1111/evo.12483.

Morgan, M.J., Bass, D., Bik, H., Birky, C.W., Blaxter, M., Crisp, M.D., Derycke, S., Fitch, D., Fontaneto, D., Hardy, C.M., King, A.J., Kiontke, K.C., Moens, T., Pawlowski, J.W., Porazinska, D., Tang, C.Q., Thomas, W.K., Yeates, D.K., and Creer, S. (2014). A critique of Rossberg et al.: noise obscures the genetic signal of meiobiotal ecospecies in ecogenomic datasets. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 281, 201133076.

Leasi, F., Tang, C.Q., De Smet, W.H., & Fontaneto, D. (2013). Cryptic diversity with wide salinity tolerance in the putative euryhaline Testudinella clypeata (Rotifera, Monogononta). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 168, 17-28.

Tang, C.Q., Leasi, F., Obertegger, U., Kieneke, A., Barraclough, T.G., & Fontaneto, D. (2012). The widely used small subunit 18S rDNA molecule greatly underestimates true diversity in biodiversity surveys of the meiofauna. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109, 16208–16212.

Fontaneto, D., Tang, C.Q., Obertegger, U., Leasi, F., & Barraclough, T.G. (2012). Different diversification rates between sexual and asexual organisms. Evolutionary Biology, 39(2), 262–270.


Mar. 2014: BioDivEvo 2014 – Phylogeography of Dactylopodola typhle (Gastrotricha: Macrodasyida) across coasts supports hypothesis of low dispersal capacity among marine gastrotrichs. Presented by Alexander Kieneke.
Mar. 2014: Imperial College London, BLAB Symposium – Recommendations for better Rotifera DNA taxonomy.
Dec. 2013: Systematics without Borders Conference – Determining the relative importance of abiotic and biotic drivers of diversity in a Western Cape plant genus (Sparaxis, Iridaceae). Presented by Paul Rymer.
Oct. 2013: Natural History Museum London, Lecture – Asexual speciation lecture for the Biodiversity MSc course.
May 2013: 2nd DNA Metabarcoding Spring School - 18S rDNA massively underestimates meiofaunal biodiversity.
Apr. 2013: British Society for Protist Biology – 18S rDNA massively underestimates meiofaunal biodiversity (poster).
Mar. 2013: Imperial College London, Silwood seminar – How do you know whether or not something's having sex?
Feb. 2013: EcoEvoVII. – Geography, climate and patterns of genetic diversity in a bdelloid rotifer.
Nov. 2012: Young Systematics Forum – 18S rDNA massively underestimates meiofaunal biodiversity (poster).
Sep. 2012: Ecologia e Gestione Ambientale – Patterns of diversity do not correlate with climate or geography in a bdelloid rotifer in Europe.
Nov. 2011: Invited seminar for Estación Costera de Investigaciones Marinas – Species delimitation: Metrics, markers and Meiofauna.
Aug. 2011: European Society for Evolutionary Biology Congress 2011 – Are you sexual? Asexual genomic signatures (poster).