New PhD student
Investigating the diversity and evolution of Smaragdinella snails
The role of ecology, historical climate change and tectonic events on the evolution and diversification of extant rocky-shore marine species: The case of Smaragdinella snails
Continental-drift and climatic shifts during the Cenozoic (last 65 million years) have shaped life on Earth leading to the extinction and diversification of new biotas and to significant geographical range expansions and contractions of species. Understanding how these processes operated can shed light on the time, geography and mode of speciation of current faunas and floras, helping thus predicting the impact of current global warming events to biodiversity. Smaragdinella is the only radiation among the entire and diverse marine gastropod family Haminoeidae to dwell on rocky-shores. This makes Smaragdinella snails of special evolutionary interest, but the processes that have driven the diversification and adaptation of these snails to a unique ecology remain to be understood.
Monisha wants to understand how many species exist and what are their phylogenetic relationships and distributions? How did major historical tectonic and climatic events impact the diversification of Smaragdinella? How did vicariance, dispersal, and ecology contribute to patterns of regional diversity and the geography of speciation? Could diet specialization be the driver behind the unique adaptation of Smaragdinella to rocky-shores? The project will use a combination of fossils, molecular phylogenetics and morphology to the address the diversity and evolution of Smaragdinella and scanning electron microscopy and metabarcoding DNA sequencing techniques to study gut contents and the diet of species.
Main supervisor: Prof. Manuel Malaquias
Co-supervisors: Prof. Ida Steen and Dr Mari Eilertsen
Monisha Bharate website: https://www.uib.no/en/persons/Monisha.Bharate