Dr Claire Larroux

ARC Early Career Research Fellow

School of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Science
c.larroux@uq.edu.au
+61 7 336 52483

Overview

Evolutionary developmental biology of marine sponges

I am interested in studying invertebrate genomes and their development to gain insight into the origin and evolution of animals. One of the great questions in evolution is how complexity evolves. How does one go from single-cell organism to complex animal? Fossils tell us that most animal forms we know today arose in a relatively short window of time during the Cambrian explosion. But what happened before the Cambrian? Sparse fossils of sponges, cnidarians, and the enigmatic Ediacaran fauna suggest animals were already experimenting with multicellular life during this period. Was there a gradual increase in complexity in the first animals? As the oldest animals on earth, sponges are a crucial group to study if one wants to understand how animals arose. To gain insight into these fundamental questions, my research aims to understand how genes have evolved and how they interact during embryonic development to give rise to animals as diverse as sponges and humans. I am currently developing the oviparous barrel sponge, Xestospongia bergquistia, which spawns gametes once a year, as a model to study the function of genes during sponge embryogenesis. I am focusing on the canonical Wnt pathway as it may have been the primary simple tool to pattern pre-Cambrian embryos along a primordial axis.

Qualifications

  • PhD, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Science(Hons) Zoology, The University of Queensland

Publications

  • Degnan, Bernard M., Adamska, Maja, Richards, Gemma S., Larroux, Claire, Leininger, Sven, Bergum, Brith, Calcino, Andrew, Taylor, Karin, Nakanishi, Nagayasu and Degnan, Sandie M. (2015). Porifera. In Andreas Wanninger (Ed.), Evolutionary developmental biology of invertebrates 1: introduction, non-bilateria, acoelomorpha, xenoturbellida, chaetognatha (pp. 65-106) Vienna, Austria: Springer Verlag. doi:10.1007/978-3-7091-1862-7

  • Steinmetz, Patrick R. H., Kraus, Johanna E. M., Larroux, Claire, Hammel, Jorg U., Amon-Hassenzahl, Annette, Houliston, Evelyn, Worheide, Gert, Nickel, Michael, Degnan, Bernard M. and Technau, Ulrich (2012) Independent evolution of striated muscles in cnidarians and bilaterians. Nature, 487 7406: 231-U1508. doi:10.1038/nature11180

  • Woerheide, G., Dohrmann, M., Erpenbeck, D., Larroux, C., Maldonado, M., Voigt, O., Borchiellini, C. and Lavrov, D. V. (2012) Deep phylogeny and evolution of sponges (phylum Porifera). Advances in Sponge Science: Phylogeny, Systematics, Ecology, 61 1-78. doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-387787-1.00007-6

View all Publications

Publications

Book Chapter

  • Degnan, Bernard M., Adamska, Maja, Richards, Gemma S., Larroux, Claire, Leininger, Sven, Bergum, Brith, Calcino, Andrew, Taylor, Karin, Nakanishi, Nagayasu and Degnan, Sandie M. (2015). Porifera. In Andreas Wanninger (Ed.), Evolutionary developmental biology of invertebrates 1: introduction, non-bilateria, acoelomorpha, xenoturbellida, chaetognatha (pp. 65-106) Vienna, Austria: Springer Verlag. doi:10.1007/978-3-7091-1862-7

  • Bernard M. Degnan, Adamska, Maja, Craigie, Alina, Degnan, Sandie M., Fahey, Bryony, Gauthier, Marie, Hooper, John N. A., Larroux, Claire, Leys, Sally P., Lovas, Erica and Richards, Gemma S. (2009). The Demosponge Amphimedon queenslandica: Reconstructing the ancestral metazoan genome and deciphering the origin of animal multicellularity. In Gann, Alexander and Crotty, David (Ed.), Emerging Model Organisms: A Laboratory Manual 1 ed. (pp. 139-166) Cold Spring Harbor, NY: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs