Student Research

A Molecular Study of Julia Mishimaensis

Julia mishimaensis is a sacoglossan sea slug that is distributed across the Pacific and Indian oceans. It is a small (roughly 3mm in length), green colored species, belonging to the family Juliidae, whose members are characterized by having bivalve shells. Julia mishimaensis is a species of interest, because of its wide distribution from Japan to Madagascar. Due to the limited amount of molecular studies on J. mishimaensis, very little is known about its population genetics. This project aims to better understand the population structures of this species by sequencing and analyzing DNA from samples collected in New Guinea, Philippines, Vanuatu, Madagascar and Mozambique. Extracted DNA from dry tissue samples will be amplified using Polymerase Chain Reactions (PCR), and ran through a gel to identify successful amplifications. Samples that are successfully amplified will be sent out for sequencing, and analyzed using AMOVA. A haplotype network will be created to fully understand their population structures, and their divergence as a species.