Rachel Collin

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Potential co-supervisors
Jon Henry (UIUC); Haris Lessios (STRI)
Rachel Collin

My research focuses on the evolutionary causes and consequences of mode of development in marine gastropods. The mode of development (planktonic vs. benthic, feeding vs. non-feeding, encapsulated vs. free-living) has important consequences for dispersal, gene flow, and rates of speciation and extinction. However it is unclear what factors maintain the stunning diversity in mode of development that we observe in many groups of marine invertebrates. My research focuses on documenting the geographic and phylogenetic patterns in development mode and combining these patterns with the results of laboratory experiments to test hypotheses about the factors driving its evolution. Currently, we are beginning to apply NextGen approaches to understanding the differences in development among species of Crepidula (slipper limpets). There are numerous opportunities for Eco-evo-devo studies in this model system. For example, social cues cause sex change in Crepidula and examination of DNA methylation patterns in males and females may provide information on the mechanisms that underlie this unusual sex allocation strategy.

Suggested Reading
  • Collin, R.  Chaparro, O. R., Winkler, F. and D. Veliz. 2007. Molecular phylogenetic and embryological evidence that feeding larvae have been reacquired in a marine gastropod. Biological Bulletin  212:  83-92. 

  • Collin, R. and M. Miglietta. 2008.  Reversing opinions on Dollo's Law. Trends in Ecology and Evolution.  23(11):  602-609.

  • Henry, J. J., R. Collin and K. J. Perry. 2010.  The slipper snail, Crepidula:  An emerging lophotrochozoan model system. Biological Bulletin. 218:  211-229.