Multidisciplinarity training in evo-devo and neurobiology of marine animal models


Neptune is a multidisciplinary training network in evo-devo and neurobiology of marine animal models. Through the use of advanced methods of genetic analysis and imaging technologies, Neptune aims at solving an array of important questions in the evolution, development, neurobiology and ecology of marine invertebrates.
Neptune is training a new generation of young researchers by combining the strengths of modern technologies with a real understanding of traditional approaches. The Neptune consortium involves seven academic institutions and one industrial partner that will provide Neptune fellows with expertise, specialized equipment and training on a wide range of approaches and methodologies incorporated in evolutionary developmental biology and marine neurobiology.

What we do

We are one of the seven partners and are contributing to the WP "Evolution of sensory systems" by studying photoreceptor evolution in echinoderms and hemichordates (Ambulacraria).


European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg - DE; Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Napoli – IT; Uppsala University, Uppsala – SE; Max Plank Institute for Developmental Biology, Tübigen – DE; University College London, London – UK; Sars International Center for Marine Molecular Biology, Bergen – NO; Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Villefranches sur mer, Lion - FR; Associate industrial partner: ZEISS.

Research Area

Organismal Biology

Project Lifetime

March 2013 to February 2017

SZN Role


Principal Investigator

Maria I. Arnone

Funding Institution

European Commission, FP7 Call for Proposal: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-ITN
Marie Curie Action - Initial Training Network (ITN)
Grant no. 317172

Contribution to SZN

€302.697,45 (EU contribution)

Dedicated website


Media - Pictures

Neptune facebook group



Valero-Gracia A, Petrone L, Oliveri P, Nilsson DE, Arnone MI. Non-directional Photoreceptors in the Pluteus of Strongylocentrotus purpuratus Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution (2016) 4, 127.

D’Aniello S, Delroisse J, Valero-Gracia A, Lowe EK, Byrne M, Cannon JT, Halanych KM, Elphick MR, Mallefet J, Kaul-Strehlow S, Lowe CJ, Flammang P, Ullrich-Lüter E, Wanninger A and Arnone MI (2015). Opsin evolution in the Ambulacraria. Marine Genomics, 24: 177-183.

Ullrich-Lüter E, D’Aniello S and Arnone MI (2013). C-opsin expressing photoreceptors in echinoderms. Integr Comp Biol 53: 27-38.

Peterson KJ, Su Y-H, Arnone MI, Swalla B, and King B (2013). microRNAs Support the Monophyly of Enteropneust Hemichordates. J Exp Zool B Mol Dev Evol 320: 368-374.

Meet the team

Maria I. Arnone, primo ricercatore
Alberto Valero Gracia, PhD student

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