Date of Award

2005

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Zoology

Advisor

Seth Tyler

Second Committee Member

Mary S. Tyler

Third Committee Member

Matthew D. Hooge

Abstract

The Acoela is a group of small, acoelomate worms, common in the meiofauna of the marine intertidal zone. As a systematic group, acoels represent a clear-cut and well defined unit-however, the status and interrelationships of many subgroups within the Acoela remain a matter of debate. The taxonomy of the group is chiefly based on characters of the reproductive system. Despite their apparent taxonomic significance, our understanding of such features as the male copulatory organs, spermatozoa, and bursal appendages is still quite limited. This dissertation is an attempt to broaden our knowledge of the reproductive organs in acoels by studying them in species whose taxonomic status

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