Brachiopod biomineralisering och kambrium diversifiering

Tidsperiod: 2016-07-01 till 2017-11-03

Projektledare: Aodhán Butler

Finansiär: Vetenskapsrådet

Bidragstyp: Bidrag för anställning eller stipendier

Budget: 3 150 000 SEK

Brachiopods are amongthe first mineralized metazoans to appear in the fossil record, yet agreement about the phylogenetic relationships among these early forms is remarkably poor. While the brachiopod fossil record will ultimately be key to determining character homology and polarity during the evolution of the distinctive brachiopod body plan, correctly reading this record has been difficult due to disagreement about relationships among the living clades. Persistent questions remain about the monophyly of brachiopods with respect to phoronids, and the relationships of the calcitic-shelled to phosphatic-shelled brachiopods. Here, an integrated approach to understanding the phylogeny and evolution of brachiopods is proposed. First, a widespread collection campaign will collect brachiopod specimens suitable for quality RNA extraction and transcriptome sequencing. These data will form the basis for the heart of this study: the first phylogenomic study of brachiopods and phoronids, which will result in a robust phylogenetic framework for the modern clades. Second, a comprehensive morphological database for living and fossil brachiopods will be constructed and best-practice molecular clock calibration points identified. These molecular and morphological data sources will then be combined to test hypotheses of character evolution and rates of morphological and molecular evolution during the macroevolutionary ‘explosion’ of diversity in the Cambrian radiation.