October 5 2011

12:00 LSB 2320

Donal Manahan
Dept of Biological Sciences, USC

Evolution and Development: An Ecological Perspective


The study of genes and "deep time" evolutionary change has yielded many important insights in developmental biology. Compared with the knowledge of the evolution of biological shape and form, an understanding of ecological factors that might co-regulate variation and adaptation is less well understood. A fuller understanding of how organisms function under multiple possible conditions of current environmental change will require a merging of genetic and environmental information [i.e., Phenotype = Genotype + Environment + IGE (where ‘I’ is the interaction component)]. Larval forms are dominant in the life history strategies of most marine animals. Yet, a lack of understanding of the biology of larval forms often limits predictive power (e.g., modeling recruitment, population biology, and defining potential "winners and losers" under various environment change scenarios). Recent studies of sea urchin and bivalve larvae are now providing new insights into the bases of genotype-by-environment interactions in early developmental stages. Such analyses offer the potential of improving predictions through a mechanistic understanding of differential growth and survival in changing ecological conditions.















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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