Evolution and Biogeography of Aquatic Organisms

EMBC+ MODULE 1: Understanding the structure and function of Marine Biodiversity

1. Descriptive biogeography (‘Drawing lines in water’)
- History and concepts of biogeographic principles
- Principles of descriptive biogeography
- Patterns in marine diversity
- Paleogeography
- Autecological and physiological aspects influencing the distribution of species (e.g. macroalgae)
2. Introduction to phylogeography and molecular biogeography of the N. Atlantic
- Introduction to molecular biogeography (phylogeography)
- Differences between populations and the evolutionary relationships between geographic regions in the N Atlantic
- Historical distribution changes of N Atlantic marine taxa caused by climate change (contractions and expansions, refugia, population bottlenecks, colonization)
- Marine phylogeograhy of the Mediterranean Sea
3. Marine speciation
- species concepts and cryptic species
- geographic modes of speciation
- ecological and genetic aspects of speciation
- reinforcement of speciation
4. Marine macro-evolution
- concepts and analysis techniques
- evolutionary patterns in the marine fossil record
- phylogenetic approaches to macro-evolution
- historical biogeography of the world's oceans
5. Marine and aquatic microbial biogeography
- Problems with microbial biogeography
- Hypotheses in microbial biogeography: cosmopolitanism versus endemicity
- Model studies on marine microbial biogeography
6. Biogeographical patterns in the deep-sea
- Geographic distribution patterns in the deep-sea
- Bathymetric distribution patterns (Emergence versus submergence in Antarctics)
- Isolated habitats (hydrothermal vents, cold seeps, coldwater coral reefs, seamounts)
7. Invasive species
8. Biogeography and conservation of marine systems

Biogeographic distribution patterns, phylogeography, speciation, diversity, dispersal

Elementary knowledge of geography and evolution, as well as heredity is an advantage.


Acquisition of insights in evolutionary patterns (both in space and time) and distribution patterns of aquatic organisms. Knowledge on how these patterns can be examined using molecular tools and on the important processes which influence these patterns.