The Bivalve Model


Bivalves are an ancient and ubiquitous group of aquatic invertebrates with an estimated 10 000–20 000 living species. They are economically significant as a human food source, and ecologically important given their biomass and effects on communities. Their phylogenetic relationships have been studied for decades, and their unparalleled fossil record extends from the Cambrian to the Recent. This is the first phylogenomic approach for this important group of molluscs, including novel transcriptomic data for 31 bivalves obtained through an RNA-seq approach. These data are presented with published genomes and transcriptomes of other bivalves plus outgroups. The esults provide a well-resolved, robust phylogenetic backbone for Bivalvia with all major lineages delineated, addressing long-standing questions about the monophyly of Protobranchia and Heterodonta, and resolving the position of particular groups such as Palaeoheterodonta, Archiheterodonta and Anomalodesmata. This now fully resolved backbone demonstrates that genomic approaches using hundreds of genes are feasible for resolving phylogenetic questions in bivalves and other animals.