This project will analyze the systematics and revise the taxonomy of onchidiid slugs (Mollusca, Gastropoda, Pulmonata). Onchidiid slugs are unique within gastropods for their ecological diversity - including species that live in the sea, fresh water, and on land. As such, research on Onchidiidae will provide a unique opportunity for this project to study general evolutionary transitions between aquatic and terrestrial habitats and between closely related species. Total species diversity and distribution are currently unknown (147 species have been described worldwide, most of which in the tropical Indo-West Pacific), and will be documented here with a new taxonomic revision based on both morphological and molecular data. Field expeditions will provide fresh material for systematic and ecological analyses. Results will be published as articles and monographic revisions, as well as taxonomic identification keys.
Research and education will be integrated through a series of innovative activities involving undergraduate students from the host institution. One PhD student and at least two undergraduate students will be trained in field collecting, anatomical dissection, Scanning Electron Microscopy, molecular systematics, and theoretical issues in taxonomy. Enhanced onchidiid systematics will be beneficial to scientists from different fields - for example, physiologists using onchidiids as a model to study photoreception, and conservation biologists using onchidiid slugs as a keystone indicator of the diversity and ecology of heavily-threatened coastal habitats.
|Effective start/end date||2/1/11 → 2/28/14|
- National Science Foundation: $486,346.00