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Pierre de Wit

RESEARCHER

Department of Marine
Sciences
Visiting address
Tjärnö
45296 Strömstad
Postal address
Lovéncentret Tjärnö
45296 Strömstad

About Pierre de Wit

 I am interested in the study of evolution at all levels, from adaptations to local environments and population genetics to how species form and to try to elucidate the history of life on earth, as well as to make predictions for the future.

I work with genetic methods to study differences in DNA sequences between populations and species of marine organisms. The goal of my current work is to find out how marine animals are affected genetically when they are exposed to environmental changes such as ocean acidification or changes in salinity, which will hopefully allow us to identify genotypes tolerant to the predicted environtment. In order to do this, we can use new DNA sequencing technologies to scan their genomes for differences that confer tolerance to environmental change. I am currently working with several projects:

• Population genomics of Baltic Sea isopods (Idotea balthica), where we have recently published a study on population structure and connectivity in the Baltic Sea, and are now working on the genome sequence and identifying genomic targets of selection due to the Baltic salinity cline. Major funding for this project has been provided by BONUS and by the Linnaeus Centre for Marine Evolutionary Biology (CeMEB).

• Connectivity and local adaptation in bivalves. We currently have ongoing projects to study population structure and local adaptation in Japanese cupped oysters (Crassostrea/Magallana gigas), European flat oysters (Ostrea edulis) and blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) along Scandinavian shores. Project funding comes both from the European Interregional development fund and FORMAS.

Previous projects that I have been involved in include studies effects of ocean acidification on Copepods, genetic variation in natural populations of abalone along the California coast, including the effects of algal bloom-induced mass mortality events, and also bioinformatic work, both construction of data analysis pipelines for large data sets, and for data mining of public databases. My PhD thesis dealt with phylogeny reconstruction and cryptic speciation patterns in marine clitellate worms (Annelida). I am also currently involved in several collaborative efforts continuing both of these lines of research.