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One of the key focuses of this talk was their extraordinary mating system - eggs are laid by females in mussels, which are then fertilised by males. The eggs gain protection from the mussels until the fry hatch. Prof Smith and colleagues have been able to disentangle a lot of the intricate details of the mechanisms underpinning this mating system by experimentally manipulating the layout of these mussels in large outdoor tanks. Researchers, equipped with snorkles and wetsuits, can then observe this fascinating behaviour and can even genotype offspring and parents to determine how competition affects reproductive success in these species.

We are extremely grateful to Prof Smith for visiting us and I look forward to future collaborations!

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