Project B4

Project B4 – Past evolutionary events and diversity development in Pontocaspian mollusk groups by combined molecular and fossil data – >Justus Liebig University Giessen – ESR >Justine Vandendorpe – Supervisor >Prof. Tom Wilke

We will reconstruct past evolutionary events and diversity development over ~2 Ma in several Pontocaspian species flocks (lymnocardiine and dreissenid bivalves, pyrguline gastropods) using genetic information from extant taxa combined with fossil occurrences (B1, B3) as a baseline for understanding the current biodiversity crises (C1). We use coalescent analyses based on mt‐DNA data for reconstructing past demographic and spatial expansion events, molecular clock analyses for timing past diversification events and lineage‐through‐time (LTT) plots to test for deviations from a constant speciation rate over time. The latter two approaches are based on multi‐ locus genetic datasets. Fossil occurrences from B1 and B3 will be used as calibration points for the molecular clock. The inferred evolutionary events will be compared to major hydrological and climatic events of the Pontocaspian (B3, B5) to obtain an understanding of the biotic and abiotic factors driving evolution in space and time.