This project focuses on placing gene expression patterns in a phylogenetic context; using transcriptomes to build phylogenies, and assessing how gene expression patterns differ between tissues and developmental stages. For this study, I am using RNA-Seq to look at the mRNA expression in different zooid (siphonophore body) types at different developmental stages both within a single Siphonophore species, and also between different species.
Siphonophores are highly complex, functionally specialized, colonial “superorganisms”. Siphonophores differ significantly from all other colonial hydrozoans in terms of structure and development. I am interested in the morphology and development of siphonophores. In particular, I have been working on understanding the development and morphology of the Portuguese man of war.
This project examined the effect of hydrostatic pressure on three different early life stages of the northern stone crab, Lithodes maja; using four genes (two traditional markers of the cellular stress response, one pressure specific gene, and one marker of aerobic capacity) and the respiration rate as markers. We suggest that the acute high pressure tolerance decreases as ontogeny advances. This was my master's thesis work in the pressure lab at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton UK. This work is published here.
Munro, C, S Siebert, F Zapata, M Howison, A Damian-Serrano, S H Church, F E Goetz, P R Pugh, S H D Haddock, C W. Dunn (2017) Improved phylogenetic resolution within Siphonophora (Cnidaria) with implications for trait evolution. BioRxiv link: doi:10.1101/251116.Github repository: siphonophore_phylogeny_2017 Dunn, CW, F Zapata, C Munro, S Siebert, A Hejnol (2018) Pairwise comparisons are problematic when analyzing functional genomic data across species. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Link: doi:10.1073/pnas.1707515115. bioRxiv preprint. Github repository:comparative_expression_2017 Dunn, CW, C Munro (2016) Comparative genomics and the diversity of life. Zoologica Scripta. 45:5-13. doi:10.1111/zsc.12211 Munro, C, JP Morris, A Brown, C Hauton, S Thatje (2015). The role of ontogeny in physiological tolerance: decreasing hydrostatic pressure tolerance with development in the northern stone crab Lithodes maja. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B. 282(1809): 20150577 doi: 10.1098/rspb.2015.0577 Shank, TM, ET Baker, RW Embley, S Hammond, JF Holden, S White, SL Walker, M Calderon, S Herrera, TJ Lin, C Munro, T Heyl, L Stewart, M Malik, M Lobecker, J Potter (2012) GALREX 2011: Exploration of the Deep-Water Galapagos Region. Oceanography 25 Suppl.: 50-51. Link