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Introduction

The Cowrie Genetic Database Project has been established to rigorously examine the phylogenetic relationships within this diverse group of marine snails using a variety of DNA molecular markers. The proximate goals of the project are essentially twofold:

    1. to comprehensively establish sister species relationships among all living cowries species
    2. to examine phylogeographic patterning at both the specific and subspecific levels

The ultimate goals of the project are to use these phylogenies to test various theories concerning speciation mechanisms in the tropical marine realm. Such studies help to understand processes that build marine biodiversity. This work was initiated by Chris Meyer at the University of California at Berkeley (UCB) for his doctoral dissertation under the guidance of Dr. Jere Lipps, and generously supported by the Univeristy of California Museum of Paleontology (UCMP). After completion of his dissertation in the fall of 1998, the work is now continued at the University of Guam's Marine Lab (UOGML) with Dr. Gustav Paulay and funded by an NSF grant through Systematic Biology.