The comprehension of the order Sacoglossa's evolutionary history is fundamental to understand the adaptive radiation of Heterobranchia, the most morphologically heterogeneous group in Gastropoda. Sacoglossans form a well-supported monophyletic group, but the relationship of its internal clades is still confused. Plakobranchidae is the most diverse family and the main systematic problem of Sacoglossa, since the lack of detailed descriptions provided many synonyms and invalid taxa from genus to species rank. The family Plakobranchidae resulted in a monophyletic group in most of the few published phylogenetic hypotheses of Sacoglossa; however, its genera are commonly recovered as paraphyletic. Usually, molecular or morphological data are analyzed to reconstruct Sacoglossa phylogeny, while an integrative approach has never been applied for such purpose, especially for Plakobranchidae. In view of such needs, it is intended: 1) to perform an integrative analysis of morphological, molecular, reproductive and ecological characters, based on about 50 species of Plakobranchidae; 2) to examine the evolution aspect of ecological association of plakobranchids and their food-algae; 3) to reconstruct the ancestral states of larval development mode and morph key-characters; 4) to describe and redescribe species and genus based on the integrative approach; and 5) to reveal the morphological diversity of Plakobranchidae. The current project is intended to be performed for a period of up to 12 months in the California State University, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
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