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8. Sex in the oceans: from molecules to macroevolution

Session organizers:

Stefano Mariani, University of Salford.
Chiara Benvenuto, University of Salford.
Isabella Capellini, University of Hull.

Contact E-mail: s.mariani@salford.ac.uk

Aquatic organisms express an astonishing variety of mating systems and reproductive strategies. Apart from gonochorism, many marine animals can reproduce asexually, act as either sex (simultaneous hermaphrodites) or even switch from one sex to the other (sequential hermaphrodites). Traditional approaches have focused on eco-evolutionary explanations for specific reproductive strategies and sex-determining mechanisms, using ecological parameters, life-history and behavioural perspectives, mainly based on sex allocation theory and social interactions.

More recently, with the development of powerful and affordable genomic tools, the molecular architecture underlying sex-determination is increasingly becoming focal. Nevertheless, we are still far from a synthesis that can bridge complex phenotypes with the molecular processes that regulate sexual development and sexual differentiation.

This session aims to bring together an interdisciplinary group of researchers, to showcase the most recent advances in the field and identify a path towards the formulation of a comprehensive framework that will explain the origin, the evolution, the mechanisms and the success of remarkable reproductive strategies in the oceans.


Robin Waples - Sex change and effective population size

Chiara Benvenuto - Population-specific plasticity within sex-changing species: consequences for effective population size

Erica Leder - Sex-biased expression during early development in threespine stickleback

Andreas Borchel - Sex in salmon lice (Lepeophtheirus salmonis)

Johan Hollander - Speciation: genital divergence and the evolution of reproductive isolation

Christophe Destombe - Genetic diversity and sexual reproduction in edge populations of the kelp species Laminaria digitata

Rocío Pérez-Portela - Prevalence of clonality across space and time in an Atlantic-Mediterranean starfish

Laurel Sky Hiebert - Transitions to coloniality in the tunicates: new insights from phylogenomic and ecological studies

Olga Kourtchenko - Controlling sexual reproduction in a marine diatom

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