Platyhelminthes (flatworms) are a diverse invertebrate phylum useful for exploring life-history evolution. Within Platyhelminthes, only two clades develop through a larval stage: free-living polyclads and parasitic neodermatans. Neodermatan larvae are considered evolutionarily derived, whereas polyclad larvae are hypothesized to be ancestral due to ciliary band similarities among polyclad and other spiralian larvae. However, larval evolution has been challenging to investigate within polyclads due to low support for deeper phylogenetic relationships. To investigate polyclad life-history evolution, we generated transcriptomic data for 21 species of polyclads to build a well-supported phylogeny for the group. The resulting tree provides strong support for deeper nodes, and we recover a new monophyletic clade of early branching cotyleans. We then used ancestral state reconstructions to investigate ancestral modes of development within Polycladida and more broadly within flatworms. In polyclads, we were unable to reconstruct the ancestral state of deeper nodes with significant support because early branching clades show diverse modes of development. This suggests a complex history of larval evolution in polyclads that likely includes multiple losses and/or multiple gains. However, our ancestral state reconstruction across a previously published platyhelminth phylogeny supports a direct developing prorhynchid/polyclad ancestor, which suggests that a larval stage in the life cycle evolved along the polyclad stem lineage or within polyclads.
Part of the larger The impacts of climate change on Bonaire (2022-present) report available here.
Coastal hazards pose a significant threat to small islands, especially in combination with Sea Level Rise (SLR). Currently, the small Caribbean island of Bonaire is poorly protected against coastal flooding and there is a lack of local knowledge on potential adaptation options and their benefits and trade-offs. This study aims to fill this gap by evaluating how different coastal adaptation options to protect Bonaire are valued, considering economic, social, environmental, and technical criteria. This is evaluated using a participatory Multi-Criteria Analysis (MCA) that includes key stakeholders through semistructured interviews and the use of an online questionnaire. A wide variety of coastal adaptation options, ranging from grey infrastructure to softer Nature-based Solutions (NbS), is assessed based on an interdisciplinary set of 10 different criteria, providing a holistic view of the consequences of each option. The results show that NbS, especially mangrove restoration, and spatial zoning measures are overall perceived to be most beneficial. The least favourable adaptation strategies include the construction of any type of seawall and doing nothing. While an MCA does not lead to a final perfect solution, it does provide valuable comparative information about potential future adaptation strategies for Bonaire, which can be used to aid policy makers in the decision-making process. Moving forward, it is important to further strengthen the results of this study by conducting additional quantified analyses, including an evaluation of the spatial suitability of specific measures or combinations of measures. Moreover, to ensure public support for any final policy decisions, regardless of the specific measures that a