Elizabeth Daly

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


Thesis Title
Fine scale population structure through space and time.

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Snails provide fantastic material to study biological evolution. Ms Daly used large and endangered Placostylus land snails to investigate populations in time and space. Her research examined both fossils and living snails to track the shape and size of a single species through time and across its geographic range. Genetics and morphology were combined to track evolution and understand the role of gene flow in maintaining shell shape. For the first time, it was shown that both stasis (a period of equilibrium) and morphological adaptation is possible in the face of gene flow. In addition, she used genetics to clarify the population structure of an endangered and undescribed land snail from the genus Powelliphanta. Patterns observed showed ecologically restricted distributions and will inform future conservation.

Professor Mary Morgan-Richards
Professor Steven Trewick