Fissurellidae are marine gastropods with a worldwide distribution and a rich fossil record. We integrate molecular, geographical and fossil data to reconstruct the fissurellid phylogeny, estimate divergence times and investigate historical routes of oceanic dispersal. With five molecular markers for 143 terminals representing 27 genera, we resolve deep nodes and find that many genera (e.g., Emarginula, Diodora, Fissurella) are not monophyletic and need systematic revision. Several genera classified as Emarginulinae are recovered in Zeidorinae. Future work should prioritize emarginuline genera to improve understanding of ancestral traits and the early evolution of fissurellids. Tree calibration with the FBD model indicates that crown fissurellids originated around 175 Ma, and generally resulted in younger ages for the earliest nodes than the node dating approach. Model-based biogeographic reconstruction, supported by fossils, infers an Indo-West Pacific origin, with a westward colonization of new oceans via the Tethys Seaway upon the breakup of Pangea. Western Atlantic clades then served as source for dispersal towards other parts of the globe. As the sister group to all other fissurellids, Rimula is ranked in its own subfamily, Rimulinae stat. nov. New synonyms: Hemitominae syn. nov. of Zeidorinae stat. nov.; Cranopsis syn. nov. of Puncturella; Variegemarginula syn. nov. of Montfortula.
The taxonomic richness and distributional patterns of the macrofauna associated with the algae genus Dictyota from the Abrolhos Bank (Eastern Brazilian coast) are analyzed. Macrofauna comprised a total of 9586 specimens; a complete faunal list of the most abundant taxa (Crustacea, Polychaeta and Mollusca, accounting for 95.6%) resulted in 64 families and 120 species. Forty six species are registered for the first time for the Abrolhos Bank, of which 3 are also new for the Brazilian coast. The most abundant families were Ampithoidae amphipods (with Ampithoe ramondi as the main faunal component), Janiridae isopods, Rissoellidae gastropods and Syllidae polychaetes. Comparisons were made between summer and winter periods and among sites from Sebastiao Gomes Reef, near the coast, and from Siriba Island, in the Abrolhos Archipelago, away from the mainland. Algae size was lower in the summer, when faunal density was higher, suggesting a possible effect of grazing. Macrofaunal communities were significantly different among sites and periods. Coastal and external communities were markedly different and winter had the greatest effects on the fauna. Environmental conditions related to sediment type and origin and turbidity appear to be a good scenario for our macrofauna distribution results.
Thank you to family, friends, colleagues and institutions that supported me and my work during the PhD, and to everyone that came for the public presentation. Celebrated in great style with an awesome snail cake by lab friends Caitlin Baker and Vanessa Knutson! (click for pics)