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Unravelling early chelicerate evolution and the origin of the sea spiders combining high quality paleontological and genomic data

Description du projet

Un nouvel ensemble de données morphologiques englobant tous les principaux taxons d’arthropodes

La première étude détaillée de la morphologie des pycnogonides fossiles sera menée en ayant recours à une tomographie informatique de pointe. Le projet PhyloPycno, financé par l’UE, produira un nouvel ensemble de données morphologiques englobant tous les principaux taxons d’arthropodes. Comprenant les insectes et les mille-pattes, les Arthropodes forment l’essentiel de la biodiversité animale et comprennent des organismes modèles comme la drosophile Drosophila melanogaster. Bien que les Arthropodes représentent un système modèle clé pour la macroévolution, notre compréhension de leur évolution demeure lacunaire. Le projet vérifiera des hypothèses concernant les relations entre les Chélicérés et les autres Arthropodes. S’intéressant tout particulièrement aux araignées de mer, il vérifiera également l’origine et le taux de diversification des Pycnogonides hautement divergents et donnera une estimation de l’échelle temporelle de l’évolution des Pycnogonides et des Chélicérés.

Objectif

Arthropoda (e.g. insects, crustaceans, spiders and centipedes) comprises the majority of animal biodiversity and includes model organisms like the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster. A rich fossil record, abundant genomic information, high morphological disparity, and unparallelled diversity, have made arthropods a key model system for macroevolution. Yet, our understanding of arthropod evolution remains incomplete. In part, this is because alternative interpretations of their morphology support different evolutionary hypotheses. For example, the phylogeny of total-group Chelicerata (i.e. the living chelicerates – e.g. sea spiders, horseshoe crabs, spiders and scorpions – and all fossils more closely related to these than to any other arthropod) depends on alternative interpretations for the origin of the chelicerae. These pincer-like first head appendages are found in all living chelicerates, but it is unclear whether they are primitive, derived, or converging characters. Central to this debate are the sea spiders (Pycnogonida), a poorly-understood, marine, chelicerae-bearing lineage, dissimilar in many respects to other chelicerates. It has been suggested that pycnogonids might not be chelicerates and that chelicerae might be convergent or a primitive trait for Arthropoda, which would necessitate a reassessment of early arthropod evolution. Here, I will use a cutting edge computed tomography approach to provide the first detailed study of fossil pycnogonid morphology, and to generate a new morphological dataset spanning all key arthropod taxa. Bayesian and Maximum Likelihood-based total evidence approaches will then be used to combine the new morphological dataset with genomic data and test hypotheses of (1) chelicerate and arthropod relationships, (2) the evolution of the arthropod body plan, (3) the origin and diversification rate of the highly divergent Pycnogonida, and (4) to estimate an evolutionary timescale for Pycnogonida and Chelicerata.

Coordinateur

UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL
Contribution nette de l'UE
€ 212 933,76
Adresse
BEACON HOUSE QUEENS ROAD
BS8 1QU Bristol
Royaume-Uni

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Région
South West (England) Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Bristol/Bath area Bristol, City of
Type d’activité
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Liens
Coût total
€ 212 933,76