1st Annual South Pacific Asia Marine Science Workshop
Date: 28-31 March 2012
Place: Seoul, South Korea
PRESENTATIONS and ABSTRACTS
1) Kerr A. 2012. Phylogenetics of Holothuroidea (Echinodermata)
Holothuroids, or sea cucumbers, are a morphologically diverse group of echinoderms with over 1400 described species occurring from the intertidal to the deepest oceanic trenches. My lab investigates the evolution and systematics of this group via phylogenetic analyses of DNA nucleotide sequences, morphological characters and fossil first occurrences. To date, the cladistic structure of the group appears at considerable odds with the conventional higher level taxonomic classification. The topology within at least one order, Apodida, is in contrast largely congruent with the Linnaean scheme. Branching order is significantly associated with fossil first occurrences and the fossil-calibrated tree indicates that holothuroids survived the end Permian extinction more successfully than other echinoderms. Like many other marine invertebrates, at least one clade radiated rapidly during the Triassic. A test of imbricate plates and a complex calcareous ring resembling the ambulacral skeleton of other echinoderms are derived features in holothuroids.