systematics; crayfish; conservation biology; population genetic; molecular evolution
Freshwater crayfish have served as model organisms for over 125 years in scientific research, from areas such as neurobiology and vision research to conservation biology and evolution. Recently, evolutionary histories in the form of phylogenies have served as a critical foundation for testing hypotheses in such diverse research areas as well. In this article, I review the amazing diversity of freshwater crayfish, especially in a phylogenetic context and explore how these evolutionary histories have informed crayfish biology and can be used powerfully in the future to guide research in a diversity of areas. Throughout the article, I draw on examples from my own laboratory in molecular evolution, vision research, systematics, population genetics, and conservation biology.