|K066: Physiological and Phylogenetic Relationships Among Antarctic Organisms|
University of Otago
Marine and terrestrial organisms are likely to have been exposed to quite different environments since Antarctica separated from the rest of Gondwana. Marine systems are well mixed and allow easy movement of individuals from place to place. Despite this, notothenioid fish dominate the Antarctic fish fauna and form a species flock implying that some mechanism must exist to isolate individual populations. Marine invertebrates such as echinoderms and pcynogonids seem to be less diverse and more similar to species found in the adjoining landmasses. In contrast, land organisms inhabit ice-free refugia that comprise only a few percent of the area of the continent. Animals from these areas may show much stronger regional variation and a different pattern on speciation. In this programme, we will collect material from both marine and terrestrial animals to determine their phylogenetic histories.
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