Principal Researcher: Scott Santagata
CW Post Campus of Long Island University
Research Abstract: Among metazoans with true nervous systems, phyla within the ecdysozoan and deuterostome lineages are more similar in their larval and juvenile anatomies than those present among phyla of the Lophotrochozoa. The more divergent morphologies present with the Lophotrochozoa confound traditional evolutionary interpretations of many larval and adult characters, especially with regard to the "lophophorates". Bryozoan larvae provide a unique opportunity to study the functional and evolutionary implications of neuromuscular variability among the morphologically diverse array of phyla included within the Lophotrochozoa. The purpose of my work at the Coastal Studies Center is to preserve the larvae of several species of bryozoans to investigate the expression of conserved developmental genes involved in the specification of neuronal cell type.