ANT LIA Collaborative Research: Interrogating Molecular and Physiological Adaptations in Antarctic Marine Animals.
Interrogating Molecular and Physiological Adaptations in Antarctic Marine Animals.
Understanding the genomic changes underlying adaptations to polar environments is critical for predicting how ecological changes will affect life in these fragile environments. Accomplishing these goals requires looking in detail at genome-scale data across a wide array of organisms in a phylogenetic framework. This study combines multifaceted computational and functional approaches that involves analyzing in the genic evolution of invertebrate organisms, known as the bryozoans or ectoprocts. In addition, the commonality of our results in other taxa will be tested by comparing the results to those produced from the previous and newly proposed workshops. Specific aims of this study include: 1) identifying genes involved in adaptation to Antarctic marine environments using transcriptomic and genomic data from bryozoans to test for positively selected genes in a phylogenetic framework, 2) experimentally testing identified candidate enzymes (especially those involved in calcium signaling, glycolysis, the citric acid cycle, and the cytoskeleton) for evidence of cold adaption, and 3) conducting computational workshops aimed at training scientists in techniques for the identification of genetic adaptations to polar and other disparate environments. The proposed work provides critical insights into the molecular rules of life in rapidly changing Antarctic environments, and provides important information for understanding how Antarctic taxa will respond to future environmental conditions.
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