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Zoology Seminars

Diversification of Carnivorous Marine Snails


Department of Zoology, NHM


TUESDAY 25th October

Neil Chalmers Science Seminar Room (DC.LG16)

12:00 -13:00



Diversification in the marine realm is thought to be driven primarily by the allopatric processes of vicariance and dispersal. However, there is
increasing evidence that ecological specialization may also play a role generating observed patterns of phylogeography. To test the relative
importance of these processes, I construct the first comprehensive molecular phylogenies of two cosmopolitan, ecologically important but taxonomically
complex subfamilies of carnivorous neogastropods including complete or near-complete species-level phylogenies of three genera. Despite unusually
wide dispersal and presumably high gene flow, speciation in these groups appears to have been primarily allopatric, as has been shown in many other
marine taxa. Many species in these subfamilies are highly specialized predators (prey includes corals, polychaetes, sipunculans, even fish). Thus,
dietary specialization has been predicted to be an important ecological influence on diversification. However, I find no evidence that dietary
specialization has played a role in speciation in these groups. Instead, I suggest that the important ecological dimension of speciation in these
subfamilies is habitat, rather than diet.



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