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Progenetic evolution in the deep sea (PRODEEP)

In collaboration with Dr. Endre Willassen


Supporetd by a Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowship and the Research Council of Norway (top-up finding of Marie Curie fellows)


The project focuses on the group of predominantly deep-sea polychaete worms from the subfamily Hyalinoeciinae with worldwide distribution, remarkable diversity at great depths, and possible progenetic origin. This study aims to: (1) assess the morphological and genetic variation within Hyalinoeciinae; (2) assess the phylogenetic position of Hyalinoeciinae species with suggested progenetic origin; (3) trace the evolution of characters within Hyalinoeciinae; (4) develop a hypothesis on the possible pathways of the deep-sea invasion by hyalinoeciins. We expect to provide the taxonomical revision of hyalinoeciins and to advance our knowledge in polychaete phylogeny. We also hope to contribute to understanding of genetic and morphological variation in polychaetes from various depth zones and to clarify the role of progenesis in the deep-sea fauna formation and evolution. 

Hyalinoecia tubicola with distinct subulate frontal lips (arrowed)

Leptoecia midatlantica: A, B, worms in their transparent tubes; C, D, mature worms with juvenile-like conical peristomium; E, F, mature worms with developed frontal lips on the anterior margin of prostomium. 

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