Caribachlamys sentis (Reeve, 1853)
Family Pectinidae (True Scallops)
Caribachlamys sentis, like this orange specimen photographed at Pigeon Key in the Florida Keys, usually lives in rock crevices. The shells are often fouled by the same organisms that coat the surfaces of their environment. Scallops are among the best known bivalves. They have been widely used symbols in art and heraldry throughout history, particularly in Greek, Roman, and Medieval Europe. The family Pectinidae is known since the Triassic Period and is represented by ca. 50 living genera and ca. 400 species, inhabiting intertidal to hadal depths (ca. 7000 m) from the tropics to polar seas.
Evolution on the Half Shell...
The Assembling the Tree of Life: Bivalvia project (BivAToL) is a part of the Assembling the Tree of Life initiative, a large research effort sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Its goal is to reconstruct the evolutionary origins of all living things.
Jetsam & Flotsam
Some of the BivATOL team met in early May at the Mote Marine Laboratory’s Tropical Research Station at Summerland Key, FL for a combined collecting trip and coding workshop. Both activities are essential to our project’s goal of determining the phylogenetic relationships among the bivalve families.
After collection, many of the species’ visible and molecular characteristics must be compared and “coded,” after which the phylogenetic computer analyses will be run to produce the final “tree” from which a hypothesis of relationships can be made. Below is an example of a portion of such a phylogenetic tree. Families that are on nearby branches are more closely related to each other than those further away.