Karen Osborn, Ph.D
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Pelagic Munnopsid Isopods: Phylogenetics, Ecology, and Evolution
Wednesday- April 16, 2008
Pacific Forum – 3:00 p.m.
The pelagic members of the asellote isopod family Munnopsidae are abundant and diverse off the North American west coast but have remained essentially unstudied until now. This charismatic and exciting group of animals is particularly interesting because of their potential to form the basis of a study of deep-sea and pelagic evolution. This dissertation project laid the groundwork for examining evolution of pelagic munnopsids by: (1) providing the first molecularly based phylogenetic hypothesis for relationships within the family, (2) generating ecological and natural history information about the pelagic and benthopelagic members, and (3) examining a possible mechanism by which isolation could occur in the continuous habitat of the deep open ocean. These diverse lines of investigation built toward understanding how the great diversity of the group has arisen, as well as started to build evidence for how pelagic species have adapted to life in the water column.