Not So Slow After All

December 18, 2019


Researchers from the Parent Lab in the Biological Sciences Department recently published a paper in the Journal of Heredity about the colonization and speciation sequence in Galapagos endemic land snails. This group of snails forms the largest adaptive radiation on the Galapagos Islands, and is one of the few cases where speciation occurs mostly within one island, rather than as a result of inter-island colonization. The team’s results suggest that the current Galapagos Islands were colonized by land snails from the continent about 3.2 million years ago, shortly after the oldest current islands were formed, about 4 million years ago. When reconstructing the sequence of species colonization within the island group, the researchers found that it closely follows the geological formation of the islands—as soon as a new island breaks the surface of the water, it gets colonized by snails. Lab PI Christine Parent said that these snails “seem to not be so slow after all”.

The lead author on this paper is John Phillips, a postdoc researcher in the Parent Lab. Other contributors include BCB grad students Mason Linscott and Andrew Rankin, members of the Parent and Sullivan labs, Andrew Kraemer, a faculty member at Creighton University and Parent Lab alumnus, Nathaniel Shoobs, a grad student from Drexel University, and Christine Parent. The team’s publication was supported by IBEST funding.

Read the Paper

Article by Katy Riendeau
IBEST Design & Marketing Coordinator