Research project: Understanding gastropod phylogeny


Start date:

Museum investigators

External investigators

  • Lyda Castro, Universidad del Magdalena, Colombia
  • Charles Lydeard, Smithsonian Institution, USA

Funded by

  • Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (ARC)


Don Colgan and Winston Ponder have had a long-term collaboration in the use of DNA sequences to investigate the evolutionary relationships of the gastropods. We have concentrated on the group as a whole and on the major, mostly marine, group Caenogastropoda. Our current interest in this area is to clarify the boundaries of the 'siphonates', one of the two largest groups of Caenogastropoda. Limited molecular data suggest that one family, the Cerithiopsidae, possessing siphons, do not belong to the main group. More species of Cerithiopsidae and some other families need to be sequenced to clarify the evolutionary status of the 'siphonates'.

Other projects in this programme include collaborations with Lyda Castro (Colombia) on the complete mitochondrial genome of the nerite snail Nerita melanotragus and Charles Lydeard (USA) in the investigation of the phylogeny of the basal pulmonates. These snails are very well represented in Australia, particularly in the estuaries and mangroves.

Dr Don Colgan , Principal Research Scientist
Dr Winston Ponder , Senior Fellow
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