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David R. Lindberg

D.R. Lindberg, Sydney, Australia, June 2005, Photo: J. Ponder

. . . to knock a limpet from the rock does not even require cunning, that lowest power of the mind. Charles Darwin, 1834

Phylogenetics is at the core of Integrative Biology. The evolutionary history, interactions, and relationships of the taxa that I study are the threads that unite the various temporal and spatial scales of my research. My research program primarily centers on evolution in the rocky, nearshore marine biome. Rocky intertidal of Gibson Island, Bering Sea, Attu Island, Aleutian Islands, Alaska Although rocky shores account for over 30% of the world's coastlines, biome level questions and patterns are seldom addressed. My approach at this large scale focuses on the evolution of select organisms (mostly Mollusca), the changing habitat, and the resultant interactions between organisms and between organisms and the habitat through time.

My interest in this habitat has sustained over 15 years of research and field work along much of the eastern Pacific margin, including the Aleutian Islands, Washington State, the northern and southern California and related island groups, the islands of Baja California, Mexico, and the temperate coast of Chile. Most of my early work consisted of faunal surveys and community level studies with the California Academy of Sciences.

As a graduate student, I was fortunate to add life history evolution (J.S. Pearse) and experimental ecology (J.A. Estes) to my basic knowledge of rocky shore communities. Since coming to Berkeley I have benefited from exposure and interactions with excellent paleontologists and evolutionists who have provided new tools and approaches for my questions.

Research at this scale requires a wide variety of techniques and I often incorporated paleontological, geological, and biogeographical data, in addition to comparative morphology, developmental biology, long-term experimental manipulations, and phylogenetics in my studies. Molecular approaches have been added to this repertoire [visit the Molecular Phylogenetics Laboratory].

My research often centers around one of three recurrent themes:
  • The need to recognize monophyletic units and their history so that phylogenetic traits and constraints can be identified and separated from ecological and morphological grades.
  • The importance of historical time scales in evolutionary biology and ecology.
  • The importance of heterochrony in evolution.
My systematic work features the Patellogastropoda, a group of gastropod molluscs that figure prominently in ecological studies of rocky intertidal communities around the world.

Current systematic research efforts are focused on the construction and use of phylogenetic hypotheses to understand adaptation and evolution in patellacean faunas in different regions of the world through time. These data are used to examine evolutionary and biogeographical patterns in other rocky intertidal taxa, and preliminary data suggest that some of these patterns are common to several unrelated molluscan groups.

I also continue to investigate the relationships amongst higher molluscan taxa including subclades within the Gastropoda, the "conchiferian" groups, and the phyletic position of the Mollusca. Data sets include morphological characters, molecular characters and fossil and Recent taxa, providing a total evidence approach.

My work on the evolution of the rocky intertidal settings has been downsizing over the last few years, but I remain interested in the role of the substrate in determining and augmenting community composition and subsequent species interactions, and the continuing analysis and publication of the San Nicholas Island Lottia gigantea studies (1979-1991) conducted with James A. Estes.

I also remain interested in the effects of glaciations and humans on the evolution of nearshore marine systems, especially on marine mammal and seabird populations around the Pacific Rim.

Contact info:

Lindberg Lab
Department of Integrative Biology
1005 VLSB MC #3140
Berkeley, CA 94720 - 3140
Lab phone: (510) 643.9746
IB Fax: (510) 643.6264
UCMP Fax: (510) 642.1822
Email: drl (at) berkeley.edu


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