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The contribution of the genus Littorina to the field of evolutionary ecology
Rolán-Alvarez, E.; Austin, C.J.; Boulding, E.G. (2015). The contribution of the genus Littorina to the field of evolutionary ecology. Oceanogr. Mar. Biol. Ann. Rev. 53: 157-214.
In: Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review. Aberdeen University Press/Allen & Unwin: London. ISSN 0078-3218, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Littorina Férussac, 1822 [WoRMS]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Rolán-Alvarez, E.
  • Austin, C.J.
  • Boulding, E.G.

    We present a detailed review of 269 published studies using Littorina species in the field of evolutionary ecology during the last 18 years. We first identify the reasons for the special place of the genus Littorina in the field: its horizontal and vertical distribution along the steep environmental gradients that comprise the intertidal zone, its within-species polymorphisms in size, morphology, and life history, and its possession of a shell that records past environmental and biological changes during a snail's lifetime. The review focuses on six different subareas of evolutionary ecology: biodiversity, adaptation, from gene to phenotype, life history, speciation, and co-evolution, as well as the utility of different Littorina species as model organisms. We identify gaps in existing research (inheritance of complex traits, life-history evolution, detailed demographic studies, identification of agents of selection, and fitness estimates in the wild), and we conclude that species of the genus Littorina will continue to be useful model organisms, especially for field studies of evolutionary ecology, for the next generation of researchers. To enable this genus to achieve its maximum potential as a true ecological model, we recommend that more than one species should have its full genome sequenced, assembled, and annotated.

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