Last updated 2005-02-07
Phylogeny of Porcellanid crabs
am interested in the evolution and ecology of decapod crustaceans. My work
focuses primarily on the use of morphological and molecular data to address
questions on the systematics, biogeography and ecology of porcelain crabs
(Crustacea: Decapoda: Anomura).
Porcellanids are marine crab-like anomurans (they are not true crabs, like brachyurans), with most of its species occurring in tropical regions. There are about 260 currently recognized species classified in nearly 30 genera. Porcellanidae is a morphologically well-defined taxon but the evolutionary relationships within this family are poorly known.
My PhD work involves studying the morphology of these crabs, with emphasis on the genus Petrolisthes, a heterogeneous genus with world-wide distribution and more than 100 species. I use DNA sequence variation to establish hypotheses about the evolution of morphological and ecological traits and the phylogenetic relationships within this genus. One aspect of my work involves disentangling complexes of species that are morphologically difficult to distinguish but that have a genetic identity and unique colour and colour patterns. One of these species complexes is the Petrolisthes galathinus complex (Werding, 1983). Petrolistes galathinus (Bosc, 1802) has been reported as a highly variable species containing several different colour morphs, and with a wide geographic distribution in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific. Much of the current taxonomic confusion can be traced to the original ambiguous description by Bosc in 1802, who failed to specify a type specimen or type locality. The complex, mentioned the first time by Werding (1983), currently consists of six described species and several colour forms.
The following link will bring up pictures of the Petrolisthes galathinus complex, including the different colour varieties and the original P. galathiuns drawing, described by Bosc as Porcellana galathina.
galathinus was described by Bosc in 1802 as Porcellana galathina.
This author failed to specify a type specimen or type locality and the original
drawing is rather imprecise. This has led to taxonomic confusion and lack
of identity of this species. The Petrolisthes galathinus complex
(Werding, 1983) currently consists of six described species. P. galathinus
still comprises an assemblage of different colour forms, which needs further
analysis. An additional colour morph for another species in the complex,
P. caribensis, was identified during recent collections on the
Caribbean coast of Colombia.
P. galathinus (Bosc, 1802), with different colour
morphs, including one from the eastern Pacific
of Petrolishtes galathinus complex: Each thumbnail
will open a large image
A new sibling species within Petrolisthes edwardsii (de Saussure 1853)
Material sampled during a recent field trip to the Pacific coast of Colombia revealed two different color forms morphologically matching Petrolisthes edwardsii (de Saussure, 1853) (Crustacea: Anomura: Porcellanidae). A more careful examination allowed discovering constant morphological differences correspondent to each color morph.
One of them was designated as “Violet” and the other color form was designated as “Orange”. These forms were collected in sympatry, and seem to have the same geographic range and similar ecological requirements, judging from collecting data of museum material. Examination of museum material indicated that the two morphotypes are distributed from Lower California and the Sea of Cortez, through Central America to Colombia. Specimens from Galapagos Islands corresponded morphologically to the “Violet” variation.
Those available from the coast of Ecuador corresponded to the “Orange” variation. Analysis of DNA sequences of a fragment of the COI mitochondrial gene revealed a different genetic identity for each morphotype, irrespectively of its geographic origin. Both morphological and molecular data support the designation of each morphotype as a separate species. The “Violet” form is being currently redescribed as P. edwardsii and the “Orange” variation is being described as a new species.
A new porcellanid species from the Caribbean Sea: Each thumbnail will open a large image
of Porcellanidae on the northern coast of Hispaniola revealed a small
new species, which belongs to a putative natural division of American
Petrolisthes species represented in the eastern Pacific by six
species (Haig, 1960) and in the western Atlantic by Petrolisthes jugosus
(Streets, 1872) and P. magdalenensis Werding 1978. This new species
is being currently described.
Another aspect of my research is the exploration of the influence of the Isthmus of Panama in driving speciation. Porcellanids constitute an ideal model to conduct this study, since from the more than 120 American species there are 6 nominal transisthmian species and a series of species pairs.
Porcellanid-material sampling on the Caribbean and Pacific coasts of Colombia were conducted in cooperation with the Taxonomy, Systematics and Marine Ecology Research Group (GTSEM: Grupo de Investigación sobre Taxonomía, Sistemática y Ecología Marina of INVEMAR (Institute of Marine and Coastal Research, Santa Marta, Colombia).
To visit the GTSEM
page go to the following link:
of a catalogue of Porcellanidae world wide.
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May 24, 1972
Colombian and German
Spanish (native), English and German
Department of Animal Ecology, Justus-Liebig-University, Giessen, Germany.
“Evolutionary studies of crustacean decapods” Advisor: Bernd Werding.
|1996-2000||Diplom-Biologist, Justus-Liebig University, Giessen, Germany|
|1991-1995||Undergraduate student, Biology Faculty, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia|
|March 2002||Cladistics Workshop “Phylogenetic Analysis: Theory and Practice”. First workshop of the Willi Hennig Society: Universidad Nacional de Tucumán, Argentina.|
|May 2002||Workshop “Molecular Evolution”. Facultad de Ciencias Del Mar y Del Ambiente, Universidade do Algarve, Faro, Portugal|
|Oct. 2003||Workshop “Theorie und Praxis der Computer Kladistik”. Zoologisches Institut, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München.|
|Sept. 2004||Workshop: "Use of molecular markers for the study of marine biodiversity". Institute of Marine Research, University of the Azores, Horta, Portugal.|
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|1999-present||Member of the Taxonomy, Systematics and Marine Ecology Research Group (GTSEM: Grupo de Investigación sobre Taxonomía, Sistemática y Ecología Marina), Institute of Marine and Coastal Research - INVEMAR - Santa Marta, Colombia.|
|Apr. 2004||Research visitor, Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History. Crustacean collections.|
|Sept. 2003||Participation in the “Nuquí Expedition INVEMAR”, Colombian Pacific. Responsible for crustacean material sampling. Biodiversity and Marine Ecosystems Program of INVEMAR.|
|Feb. 2002||Field work in the Gulf of Morrosquillo, Colombian Caribbean. Responsible for material sampling for the study of the Caribbean crustacean fauna in cooperation with the Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia.|
|Jan. 2002||Field work in different localities of the Colombian Caribbean. Responsible for material sampling for the study of the Caribbean porcellanid fauna (Crustacea: Anomura). Biodiversity and Marine Ecosystems Program of INVEMAR|
|July 2001||Research visitor, Zoological Museum, University of Copenhagen. Crustacean collections.|
|June 2001||Research visitor, Rosenstiel School of Marine And Atmospheric Science University of Miami. Crustacean collections.|
|March 2001||Participation in the marine cruise “Expedition INVEMAR-Macrofauna II”, Colombian Caribbean. Responsible for crustacean samplings|
|Dec. 2000||Research visitor, National Museum of Natural History, Washington. Crustacean collections.|
|Sept. 2000||Research visitor, Museum National D´Histoire Naturelle - Paris. Training in molecular methods at the Molecular Systematics Laboratory and visit to the crustacean collections.|
|Feb. 2000||Field work in Gorgona Island, Colombian Pacific coast. Responsible for material sampling for conducting a study of the Colombian Pacific porcellanid fauna (Crustacea: Anomura). Biodiversity and Marine Ecosystems Program of INVEMAR.|
|Sept. 1998||Field course “Marine Ecosystems” given by the Biodiversity and Marine Ecosystems Program of INVEMAR in cooperation with the Justus-Liebig University.|
UNDERGRADUATE PROJECTS SUPERVISED
|2004-present||Juan Felipe Lazarus (Universidad del Valle, Cali, Colombia). Taxonomic composition and population structure of porcellanids (Crustacea: Anomura: Porcellanidae) in the Bay of Buenaventura and Bay of Malaga, Colombian Pacific.|
|2000||Antje Caelers (Justus Liebig University). Behavioral and genetic studies of tropical cat fish (Siluriformes).|
|2001-present||INVEMAR-Macrofauna II. Characterization of the Macrofauna of the Caribbean continental slope of Colombia.|
|2003||INVEMAR-Macrofauna III. Characterization of the Macrofauna of the northern Pacific continental slope of Colombia, with emphasis on the taxonomy, systematics and biogeography of the American species of the families Porcellanidae and Galatheidae (Crustacea: Anomura).|
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HONORS, AWARDS AND GRANTS
|Feb. 2005||Best Student Poster Award. 12. Crustaceologen-Tagung, Deutsches Zentrum für Marine Biodiversitätsforschung, Senckenberg Naturmuseum, Wilhelmshaven, Germany.|
|Feb. 2003||Best Student Poster Award. The Crustacean Society. Crustaceologen-Tagung, Universität Ulm, Germany.|
|2000-2003||Graduate Research Grant. Awarded by the Hesse State (Stipendium nach dem Hessischen Gesetz zur Förderung von Nachwuchswissenschaftlern).|
|Jan.-Feb. 2002||DAAD Grant to conduct field work in Colombia (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst - German Academic Interchange Service).|
|July 2001||COBICE Programme Grant “Improving Human Potential”, Copenhagen. European Commission.|
|Sept. 2000||PARSYST Programme Grant. Systematics Collections, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris.|
|2000 and 2005||Award to the “Taxonomy and Systematics research group”, INVEMAR, as one of the best research teams (category A) within the National Research Programme of COLCIENCIAS (Colombian Institute for the Development of Research and Technology).|
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|2001-present||Teaching Assistant in the course „Zoological Exercises - Advanced level: Phylogenetics module”.|
|2000-present||Training of Colombian researchers from INVEMAR in molecular techniques.|
|2000-present||Teaching Assistant in the course „Zoological Exercises - Beginners level”.|
|2001-present||Teaching Assistant in the course „Biology and Ecology of Crustacea ”.|
|2001-2002||Teaching Assistant in the course „Molecular Ecology”.|
ORAL AND POSTER PRESENTATIONS
|2005||Hiller, A., K. Ekschmitt & B. Werding, 2005. More than just a taxonomic key: An interactive identification key fort he western Atlantic Porcellanidae (Crustacea: Decapoda: Anomura). In: 12. Crustaceologen-Tagung,. Program and Abstracts, p. 38.|
|Almon, M & A. Hiller, 2005. Morphometric studies of the Petrolisthes galathinus species complex (Crustacea: Anomura: Porcellanidae). In: 12. Crustaceologen-Tagung,. Program and Abstracts, p. 9.|
|Ekschmitt, K., A. Hiller & B. Werding, 2005. Fast and reliable species-identification with a PC? In: 12. Crustaceologen-Tagung,. Program and Abstracts, p. 12.|
|2003||Hiller, A. & H. Kraus, 2003. Congruence between color pattern and molecular and larval characters in the American Petrolisthes galathinus species complex. In: 11. Crustaceologen-Tagung, Universität Ulm. Program and Abstracts, p.23.|
|2002||Hiller, A., H. Kraus & B. Werding, 2002. Morphological and molecular characterization of the Petrolisthes galathinus species complex (Crustacea: Decapoda: Anomura). In: Book of Abstracts - 8th Colloquium Crustacea Decapoda Mediterranea, 2002. National and Kapodistrian University of Athens at the Ionian University, Corfu, p. 100.|
|Werding, Bernd, A. Hiller & H. Kraus, 2002. Biogeography of the temperate American porcellanid crab species (Decapoda: Anomura: Porcellanidae). In: Book of Abstracts - 8th Colloquium Crustacea Decapoda Mediterranea, 2002, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens at the Ionian University, Corfu, p. 100.|
|Kraus, H., A. Hiller & B. Werding, 2002. Zoeal morphology as a tool for porcellanid phylogeny (Crustacea: Decapoda: Porcellanidae), with special emphasis on the new world species of the genus Petrolisthes. In: Book of Abstracts - 8th Colloquium Crustacea Decapoda Mediterranea, 2002, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens at the Ionian University, Corfu, p. 74.|
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