Hartweg Memorial Lecture
Molluscs are second only to arthropods in number of described species. They are a morphologically diverse and ancient group with a fossil record extending back to the early Cambrian (~560 mya). Although 60-70% of molluscs are marine, they are also well represented in freshwater and terrestrial habitats. Molluscs also have the unfortunate distinction of being the animal group that is most affected by extinction and freshwater ecosystems are considered the most endangered habitats on earth. Among freshwater snails, ampullariids (apple snails) are a major pan-tropical group and a key component of biodiversity. As basal Caenogastropoda, the largest gastropod group, understanding their evolution may provide key insights into the knowledge of gastropod evolution generally, and an understanding of the processes driving diversification broadly. In this presentation I will present aspects of my lab's long term research to address the determinants of biodiversity through the study of mollusks, particularly the Ampullariidae.
Host: Professor Thomas Duda