Evolution in hot waters: Comparative genomics reveals divergent thermal selection in invasive and non-invasive marine mussels

Presenter: Iva Popovic, PhD candidate, School of Biological Sciences

Abstract: Invasive species are among the greatest threats to global biodiversity, yet understanding why some species evolve the propensity to become successful invaders is a major challenge in evolutionary ecology. Here, we compare the genomes of closely related species in the marine mussel genus Mytilus to assess the contributions of temperature adaptation to the divergence of warm-tolerant Mytilus galloprovincialis, one of the world’s most wide-spread invasive species, from three cold-tolerant, non-invasive congeners. Our results highlight how genomic-enabled investigations of molecular evolution and population genomics complement knowledge from whole-organism physiological studies by demonstrating accelerated evolution in genes encoding core elements of thermal tolerance in the divergence of warm- and cold-adapted species 

Baby Snails, the Bane of Oyster Farmers: Insight into veligers of Monoplex pileare and Monoplex parthenopeus (Gastropoda:Ranellidae)

Presenter: Ashlin Turner, PhD candidate, Institute for Molecular Bioscience

Abstract: Research is sparse regarding many members of family Ranellidae, even in areas of basic life cycle and development. Presented here are the first high-quality scanning electron microscopy images of the developing veligers Monoplex pileare and Monoplex parthenopeus (Gastropoda:Ranellidae). Differences were observed in spawning behavior and incubation time of the two species, and SEM gave insight into larval shell development. Geometric morphometrics was applied to the two veligers, using the software suite developed by FJ Rohlf.  While morphometrics was unable to differentiate between the two, SEM images allow insight into species level differences even at 2 weeks after hatching.