Felix Vaux

Doctor of Philosophy, (Evolutionary Biology)
Study Completed: 2017
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Evolutionary lineages and the Diversity of New Zealand true whelks

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Meaningful investigation of evolutionary change and natural diversity requires the detailed exploration of biological systems, and consistency in academic communication across disciplines. A perennial challenge for biologists, is the informative value of morphology towards evolutionary relationships, especially over millions of years of change and speciation. In New Zealand, a group of marine snails (Buccinidae: Penion) with numerous living species and a rich fossil record was used to address this problem. Mr Vaux reconstructed the molecular phylogeny of the group and analysed morphological variation among thousands of living and fossil specimens. Results indicated that morphology is broadly concordant with evolutionary relationships for these snails. Mr Vaux demonstrated that the interpretation of morphological results affects the fit of models of evolutionary change to fossil sequences. His last finding is notable, as such observations are necessary before more complicated hypotheses of evolutionary change can be tested.

Professor Mary Morgan-Richards
Dr James Crampton
Professor Steven Trewick