Publications by authors named "Peter C Wainwright"

115 Publications

The deep sea is a hot spot of fish body shape evolution.

Ecol Lett 2021 May 31. Epub 2021 May 31.

Department of Evolution and Ecology, University of California, Davis, CA, USA.

Deep-sea fishes have long captured our imagination with striking adaptations to life in the mysterious abyss, raising the possibility that this cold, dark ocean region may be a key hub for physiological and functional diversification. We explore this idea through an analysis of body shape evolution across ocean depth zones in over 3000 species of marine teleost fishes. We find that the deep ocean contains twice the body shape disparity of shallow waters, driven by elevated rates of evolution in traits associated with locomotion. Deep-sea fishes display more frequent adoption of forms suited to slow and periodic swimming, whereas shallow living species are concentrated around shapes conferring strong, sustained swimming capacity and manoeuvrability. Our results support long-standing impressions of the deep sea as an evolutionary hotspot for fish body shape evolution and highlight that factors like habitat complexity and ecological interactions are potential drivers of this adaptive diversification.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ele.13785DOI Listing
May 2021

Anatomical basis of diverse jaw protrusion directionality in ponyfishes (Family Leiognathidae).

J Morphol 2021 03 13;282(3):427-437. Epub 2021 Jan 13.

Department of Evolution and Ecology, University of California Davis, Davis, California, USA.

Protrusion of the oral jaws is a key morphological innovation that enhances feeding performance in fishes. The mechanisms of protrusion and the basis of variation in its magnitude are well studied, but little attention has been paid to the functional morphology of protrusion directionality, despite wide variation among teleost species from slightly dorsal to strongly ventral. Ponyfishes (Leiognathidae) comprise a group of 52 species that exhibit striking diversity in the directionality of jaw protrusion, providing a promising system for exploring its underlying basis in a single clade. We examined the anatomical basis of protrusion directionality by measuring eight traits associated with the size and positioning of oral jaw bones. Measurements were made on cleared and stained specimens of 20 ponyfish species, representing every major lineage within the family. Species fell into three nonoverlapping clusters with respect to directionality including dorsal, rostral, and ventral protruders. A key correlate of protrusion direction is the anterior-posterior position of the articular-quadrate jaw joint. As the joint position moves from a posterior to a more anterior location, the orientation of the relaxed mandible rotates from an almost horizontal resting position to an upright vertical posture. Abduction of the mandible from the horizontal position results in ventrally directed protrusion, while the more upright mandible rotates to a position that maintains dorsal orientation. The resting orientation of the premaxilla and maxilla, thus, vary consistently with protrusion direction. Mouth size, represented by length of the mandible and maxilla, is a second major axis of variation in ponyfishes that is independent of variation in protrusion directionality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jmor.21314DOI Listing
March 2021

A Multifunction Trade-Off has Contrasting Effects on the Evolution of Form and Function.

Syst Biol 2021 Jun;70(4):681-693

Department of Evolution & Ecology, University of California, Davis, 2320 Storer Hall, 1 Shields Ave, Davis, CA, 95616 USA.

Trade-offs caused by the use of an anatomical apparatus for more than one function are thought to be an important constraint on evolution. However, whether multifunctionality suppresses diversification of biomechanical systems is challenged by recent literature showing that traits more closely tied to trade-offs evolve more rapidly. We contrast the evolutionary dynamics of feeding mechanics and morphology between fishes that exclusively capture prey with suction and multifunctional species that augment this mechanism with biting behaviors to remove attached benthic prey. Diversification of feeding kinematic traits was, on average, over 13.5 times faster in suction feeders, consistent with constraint on biters due to mechanical trade-offs between biting and suction performance. Surprisingly, we found that the evolution of morphology contrasts directly with these differences in kinematic evolution, with significantly faster rates of evolution of head shape in biters. This system provides clear support for an often postulated, but rarely confirmed prediction that multifunctionality stifles functional diversification, while also illustrating the sometimes weak relationship between form and function. [Form-function evolution; geometric morphometrics; kinematic evolution; macroevolution; Ornstein-Uhlenbeck; RevBayes; suction feeding].
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/sysbio/syaa091DOI Listing
June 2021

Do key innovations unlock diversification? A case-study on the morphological and ecological impact of pharyngognathy in acanthomorph fishes.

Curr Zool 2020 Oct 2;66(5):575-588. Epub 2020 Sep 2.

Department of Biological Sciences, Clemson University, Clemson, SC, 29634, USA.

Key innovations may allow lineages access to new resources and facilitate the invasion of new adaptive zones, potentially influencing diversification patterns. Many studies have focused on the impact of key innovations on speciation rates, but far less is known about how they influence phenotypic rates and patterns of ecomorphological diversification. We use the repeated evolution of pharyngognathy within acanthomorph fishes, a commonly cited key innovation, as a case study to explore the predictions of key innovation theory. Specifically, we investigate whether transitions to pharyngognathy led to shifts in the rate of phenotypic evolution, as well as shifts and/or expansion in the occupation of morphological and dietary space, using a dataset of 8 morphological traits measured across 3,853 species of Acanthomorpha. Analyzing the 6 evolutionarily independent pharyngognathous clades together, we found no evidence to support pharyngognathy as a key innovation; however, comparisons between individual pharyngognathous lineages and their sister clades did reveal some consistent patterns. In morphospace, most pharyngognathous clades cluster in areas that correspond to deeper-bodied morphologies relative to their sister clades, whereas occupying greater areas in dietary space that reflects a more diversified diet. Additionally, both Cichlidae and Labridae exhibited higher univariate rates of phenotypic evolution compared with their closest relatives. However, few of these results were exceptional relative to our null models. Our results suggest that transitions to pharyngognathy may only be advantageous when combined with additional ecological or intrinsic factors, illustrating the importance of accounting for lineage-specific effects when testing key innovation hypotheses. Moreover, the challenges we experienced formulating informative comparisons, despite the ideal evolutionary scenario of multiple independent evolutionary origins of pharyngognathous clades, illustrates the complexities involved in quantifying the impact of key innovations. Given the issues of lineage specific effects and rate heterogeneity at macroevolutionary scales we observed, we suggest a reassessment of the expected impacts of key innovations may be warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cz/zoaa048DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7705508PMC
October 2020

Correlated Evolution of Sex Allocation and Mating System in Wrasses and Parrotfishes.

Am Nat 2020 07 22;196(1):57-73. Epub 2020 May 22.

In accordance with predictions of the size-advantage model, comparative evidence confirms that protogynous sex change is lost when mating behavior is characterized by weak size advantage. However, we lack comparative evidence supporting the adaptive significance of sex change. Specifically, it remains unclear whether increasing male size advantage induces transitions to protogynous sex change across species, as it can within species. We show that in wrasses and parrotfishes (Labridae) the evolution of protogynous sex change is correlated with polygynous mating and that the degree of male size advantage expressed by polygynous species influences transitions between different types of protogynous sex change. Phylogenetic reconstructions reveal strikingly similar patterns of sex allocation and mating system evolution with comparable lability. Despite the plasticity of sex-determination mechanisms in labrids, transitions trend toward monandry (all males derived from sex-changed females), with all observed losses of protogyny accounted for by shifts in the timing of sex change to prematuration. Likewise, transitions in mating system trend from the ancestral condition of lek-like polygyny toward greater male size advantage, characteristic of haremic polygyny. The results of our comparative analyses are among the first to confirm the adaptive significance of sex change as described by the size-advantage model.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/708764DOI Listing
July 2020

Decoupled jaws promote trophic diversity in cichlid fishes.

Evolution 2020 05 23;74(5):950-961. Epub 2020 Apr 23.

Department of Evolution and Ecology, Center for Population Biology, University of California, Davis, Davis, California, 95616.

Functional decoupling of oral and pharyngeal jaws is widely considered to have expanded the ecological repertoire of cichlid fishes. But, the degree to which the evolution of these jaw systems is decoupled and whether decoupling has impacted trophic diversification remains unknown. Focusing on the large Neotropical radiation of cichlids, we ask whether oral and pharyngeal jaw evolution is correlated and how their evolutionary rates respond to feeding ecology. In support of decoupling, we find relaxed evolutionary integration between the two jaw systems, resulting in novel trait combinations that potentially facilitate feeding mode diversification. These outcomes are made possible by escaping the mechanical trade-off between force transmission and mobility, which characterizes a single jaw system that functions in isolation. In spite of the structural independence of the two jaw systems, results using a Bayesian, state-dependent, relaxed-clock model of multivariate Brownian motion indicate strongly aligned evolutionary responses to feeding ecology. So, although decoupling of prey capture and processing functions released constraints on jaw evolution and promoted trophic diversity in cichlids, the natural diversity of consumed prey has also induced a moderate degree of evolutionary integration between the jaw systems, reminiscent of the original mechanical trade-off between force and mobility.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/evo.13971DOI Listing
May 2020

Head Shape Modulates Diversification of a Classic Cichlid Pharyngeal Jaw Innovation.

Am Nat 2019 11 13;194(5):693-706. Epub 2019 Sep 13.

Functional innovations are often invoked to explain the uneven distribution of ecological diversity. Innovations may provide access to new adaptive zones by expanding available ecological opportunities and may serve as catalysts of adaptive radiation. However, diversity is often unevenly distributed within clades that share a key innovation, highlighting the possibility that the impact of the innovation is mediated by other traits. Pharyngognathy is a widely recognized innovation of the pharyngeal jaws that enhances the ability to process hard and tough prey in several major radiations of fishes, including marine wrasses and freshwater cichlids. We explored diversification of lower pharyngeal jaw shape, a key feature of pharyngognathy, and the extent to which it is influenced by head shape in Neotropical cichlids. While pharyngeal jaw shape was unaffected by either head length or head depth, its disparity declined dramatically with increasing head width. Head width also predicted the rate of pharyngeal jaw evolution such that higher rates were associated with narrow heads. Wide heads are associated with exploiting prey that require intense processing by pharyngeal jaws that have expanded surfaces for the attachment of enlarged muscles. However, we show that a wide head constrains access to adaptive peaks associated with several trophic roles. A constraint on the independent evolution of pharyngeal jaw and head shape may explain the uneven distribution of ecological diversity within a clade that shares a major functional innovation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/705392DOI Listing
November 2019

The influence of size on body shape diversification across Indo-Pacific shore fishes.

Evolution 2019 09 24;73(9):1873-1884. Epub 2019 May 24.

Department of Evolution and Ecology, University of California, Davis, California, 95616.

Understanding the causes of body shape variability across the tree of life is one of the central issues surrounding the origins of biodiversity. One potential mechanism driving observed patterns of shape disparity is a strongly conserved relationship between size and shape. Conserved allometry has been shown to account for as much as 80% of shape variation in some vertebrate groups. Here, we quantify the amount of body shape disparity attributable to changes in body size across nearly 800 species of Indo-Pacific shore fishes using a phylogenetic framework to analyze 17 geometric landmarks positioned to capture general body shape and functionally significant features. In marked contrast to other vertebrate lineages, we find that changes in body size only explain 2.9% of the body shape variation across fishes, ranging from 3% to 50% within our 11 sampled families. We also find a slight but significant trend of decreasing rates of shape evolution with increasing size. Our results suggest that the influence of size on fish shape has largely been overwhelmed by lineage-specific patterns of diversification that have produced the modern landscape of highly diverse forms that we currently observe in nature.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/evo.13755DOI Listing
September 2019

Geography of speciation affects rate of trait divergence in haemulid fishes.

Proc Biol Sci 2019 02;286(1896):20182852

2 Department of Evolution and Ecology, University of California , Davis, CA 95616 , USA.

Speciation and the interactions between recently diverged species are thought to be major causes of ecological and morphological divergence in evolutionary radiations. Here, we explore the extent to which geographical overlap and time since speciation may promote divergence in marine species, which represent a small fraction of currently published studies about the patterns and processes of speciation. A time-calibrated molecular phylogeny of New World haemulid fishes, a major radiation of reef and shore fishes in the tropical West Atlantic and East Pacific, reveals 21 sister species pairs, of which eight are fully sympatric and 13 are allopatric. Sister species comparisons show a non-significant relation between most of the phenotypic traits and time since divergence in allopatric taxa. Additionally, we find no difference between sympatric and allopatric pairs in the rate of divergence in colour pattern, overall body shape, or functional morphological traits associated with locomotion or feeding. However, sympatric pairs show a significant decrease in the rate of divergence in all of these traits with increasing time since their divergence, suggesting an elevated rate of divergence at the time of speciation, the effect of which attenuates as divergence time increases. Our results are consistent with an important role for geographical overlap driving phenotypic divergence early in the speciation process, but the lack of difference in rates between sympatric and allopatric pairs indicates that the interactions between closely related species are not dominant drivers of this divergence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2018.2852DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6408603PMC
February 2019

Adaptive radiation in labrid fishes: A central role for functional innovations during 65 My of relentless diversification.

Evolution 2019 02 10;73(2):346-359. Epub 2019 Jan 10.

Department of Evolution and Ecology, Center for Population Biology, University of California, Davis, California, 95616.

Early burst patterns of diversification have become closely linked with concepts of adaptive radiation, reflecting interest in the role of ecological opportunity in modulating diversification. But, this model has not been widely explored on coral reefs, where biodiversity is exceptional, but many lineages have high dispersal capabilities and a pan-tropical distribution. We analyze adaptive radiation in labrid fishes, arguably the most ecologically dominant and diverse radiation of fishes on coral reefs. We test for time-dependent speciation, trophic diversification, and origination of 15 functional innovations, and early bursts in a series of functional morphological traits associated with feeding and locomotion. We find no evidence of time-dependent or early burst evolution. Instead, the pace of speciation, ecological diversification, and trait evolution has been relatively constant. The origination of functional innovations has slowed over time, although few arose early. The labrid radiation seems to have occurred in response to extensive and still increasing ecological opportunity, but within a rich community of antagonists that may have prevented abrupt diversification. Labrid diversification is closely tied to a series of substantial functional innovations that individually broadened ecological diversity, ultimately allowing them to invade virtually every trophic niche held by fishes on coral reefs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/evo.13670DOI Listing
February 2019

Reef fish functional traits evolve fastest at trophic extremes.

Nat Ecol Evol 2019 02 26;3(2):191-199. Epub 2018 Nov 26.

School of Biological Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Trophic ecology is thought to exert a profound influence on biodiversity, but the specifics of the process are rarely examined at large spatial and evolutionary scales. We investigate how trophic position and diet breadth influence functional trait evolution in one of the most species-rich and complex vertebrate assemblages, coral reef fishes, within a large-scale phylogenetic framework. We show that, in contrast with established theory, functional traits evolve fastest in trophic specialists with narrow diet breadths at both very low and high trophic positions. Top trophic level specialists exhibit the most functional diversity, while omnivorous taxa with intermediate trophic positions and wide diet breadth have the least functional diversity. Our results reveal the importance of trophic position in shaping evolutionary dynamics while simultaneously highlighting the incredible trophic and functional diversity present in coral reef fish assemblages.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41559-018-0725-xDOI Listing
February 2019

Extremely fast feeding strikes are powered by elastic recoil in a seahorse relative, the snipefish, .

Proc Biol Sci 2018 07 4;285(1882). Epub 2018 Jul 4.

Department of Evolution and Ecology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.

Among over 30 000 species of ray-finned fishes, seahorses and pipefishes have a unique feeding mechanism whereby the elastic recoil of tendons allows them to rotate their long snouts extremely rapidly in order to capture small elusive prey. To understand the evolutionary origins of this feeding mechanism, its phylogenetic distribution among closely related lineages must be assessed. We present evidence for elastic recoil-powered feeding in snipefish () from kinematics, dynamics and morphology. High-speed videos of strikes show they achieve extremely fast head and hyoid rotational velocities, resulting in rapid prey capture in as short a duration as 2 ms. The maximum instantaneous muscle-mass-specific power requirement for head rotation in snipefish was above the known vertebrate maximum, which is evidence that strikes are not the result of direct muscle power. Finally, we show that the over-centre conformation of the four-bar linkage mechanism coupling head elevation to hyoid rotation in snipefish can function as a torque reversal latch, preventing the head from rotating and providing the opportunity for elastic energy storage. The presence of elastic recoil feeding in snipefish means that this high-performance mechanism is not restricted to the Syngnathidae (seahorses and pipefish) and may have evolved in parallel.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2018.1078DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6053929PMC
July 2018

Feeding ecology underlies the evolution of cichlid jaw mobility.

Evolution 2018 Jun 19. Epub 2018 Jun 19.

Department of Evolution and Ecology, University of California, Davis, California 95616.

The fish feeding apparatus is among the most diverse functional systems in vertebrates. While morphological and mechanical variations of feeding systems are well studied, we know far less about the diversity of the motions that they produce. We explored patterns of feeding movements in African cichlids from Lakes Malawi and Tanganyika, asking whether the degree of kinesis is associated with dietary habits of species. We used geometric morphometrics to measure feeding kinesis as trajectories of shape change, based on 326 high-speed videos in 56 species. Cranial morphology was significantly related to feeding movements, both of which were distributed along a dietary axis associated with prey evasiveness. Small-mouthed cichlids that feed by scraping algae and detritus from rocks had low kinesis strikes, while large-mouthed species that eat large, evasive prey (fishes and shrimps) generated the greatest kinesis. Despite having higher overall kinesis, comparisons of trajectory shape (linearity) revealed that cichlids that eat mobile prey also displayed more kinematically conserved, or efficient, feeding motions. Our work indicates that prey evasiveness is strongly related to the evolution of cichlid jaw mobility, suggesting that this same relationship may explain the origins and diversity of highly kinetic jaws that characterize the super-radiation of spiny-rayed fishes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/evo.13518DOI Listing
June 2018

Eyes Wide Shut: the impact of dim-light vision on neural investment in marine teleosts.

J Evol Biol 2018 08 19;31(8):1082-1092. Epub 2018 Jun 19.

Biodiversity and Biocomplexity Unit, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, Okinawa, Japan.

Understanding how organismal design evolves in response to environmental challenges is a central goal of evolutionary biology. In particular, assessing the extent to which environmental requirements drive general design features among distantly related groups is a major research question. The visual system is a critical sensory apparatus that evolves in response to changing light regimes. In vertebrates, the optic tectum is the primary visual processing centre of the brain and yet it is unclear how or whether this structure evolves while lineages adapt to changes in photic environment. On one hand, dim-light adaptation is associated with larger eyes and enhanced light-gathering power that could require larger information processing capacity. On the other hand, dim-light vision may evolve to maximize light sensitivity at the cost of acuity and colour sensitivity, which could require less processing power. Here, we use X-ray microtomography and phylogenetic comparative methods to examine the relationships between diel activity pattern, optic morphology, trophic guild and investment in the optic tectum across the largest radiation of vertebrates-teleost fishes. We find that despite driving the evolution of larger eyes, enhancement of the capacity for dim-light vision generally is accompanied by a decrease in investment in the optic tectum. These findings underscore the importance of considering diel activity patterns in comparative studies and demonstrate how vision plays a role in brain evolution, illuminating common design principles of the vertebrate visual system.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jeb.13299DOI Listing
August 2018

Ecology shapes the evolutionary trade-off between predator avoidance and defence in coral reef butterflyfishes.

Ecol Lett 2018 07 9;21(7):1033-1042. Epub 2018 May 9.

Department of Evolution and Ecology, University of California Davis, Davis, CA, 95616, USA.

Antipredator defensive traits are thought to trade-off evolutionarily with traits that facilitate predator avoidance. However, complexity and scale have precluded tests of this prediction in many groups, including fishes. Using a macroevolutionary approach, we test this prediction in butterflyfishes, an iconic group of coral reef inhabitants with diverse social behaviours, foraging strategies and antipredator adaptations. We find that several antipredator traits have evolved adaptively, dependent primarily on foraging strategy. We identify a previously unrecognised axis of diversity in butterflyfishes where species with robust morphological defences have riskier foraging strategies and lack sociality, while species with reduced morphological defences feed in familiar territories, have adaptations for quick escapes and benefit from the vigilance provided by sociality. Furthermore, we find evidence for the constrained evolution of fin spines among species that graze solely on corals, highlighting the importance of corals, as both prey and structural refuge, in shaping fish morphology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ele.12969DOI Listing
July 2018

How hummingbirds stay nimble on the wing.

Science 2018 02;359(6376):636-637

Department of Evolution and Ecology, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aar7615DOI Listing
February 2018

Multilocus phylogeny, divergence times, and a major role for the benthic-to-pelagic axis in the diversification of grunts (Haemulidae).

Mol Phylogenet Evol 2018 04 4;121:212-223. Epub 2018 Jan 4.

Department of Evolution and Ecology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, United States. Electronic address:

We present a phylogenetic analysis with divergence time estimates, and an ecomorphological assessment of the role of the benthic-to-pelagic axis of diversification in the history of haemulid fishes. Phylogenetic analyses were performed on 97 grunt species based on sequence data collected from seven loci. Divergence time estimation indicates that Haemulidae originated during the mid Eocene (54.7-42.3 Ma) but that the major lineages were formed during the mid-Oligocene 30-25 Ma. We propose a new classification that reflects the phylogenetic history of grunts. Overall the pattern of morphological and functional diversification in grunts appears to be strongly linked with feeding ecology. Feeding traits and the first principal component of body shape strongly separate species that feed in benthic and pelagic habitats. The benthic-to-pelagic axis has been the major axis of ecomorphological diversification in this important group of tropical shoreline fishes, with about 13 transitions between feeding habitats that have had major consequences for head and body morphology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2017.12.032DOI Listing
April 2018

Phylogenetics and geography of speciation in New World Halichoeres wrasses.

Mol Phylogenet Evol 2018 04 28;121:35-45. Epub 2017 Dec 28.

University of California Los Angeles, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 610 Charles E Young Drive South, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA. Electronic address:

The New World Halichoeres comprises about 30 small to medium sized wrasse species that are prominent members of reef communities throughout the tropical Western Atlantic and Eastern Pacific. We conducted a phylogenetic analysis of this group and related lineages using new and previously published sequence data. We estimated divergence times, evaluated the monophyly of this group, their relationship to other labrids, as well as the time-course and geography of speciation. These analyses show that all members of New World Halichoeres form a monophyletic group that includes Oxyjulis and Sagittalarva. New World Halichoeres is one of numerous labrid groups that appear to have radiated rapidly about 32 Ma and form a large polytomy within the julidine wrasses. We reconstruct the tropical Western Atlantic to be the ancestral area of New World Halichoeres, with four invasions of the Eastern Pacific and one reversal from East Pacific to Western Atlantic. These five speciation events were spread across the history of the group, with none corresponding closely to the time of the closure of the Isthmus of Panama. Three speciation events within the Atlantic occurred across the Orinoco-Amazon outflow and within the Pacific, five involve splits between lineages that occupy coastal reef systems and offshore islands. Of eight sister species pairs, seven show complete allopatry and one is fully sympatric.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2017.12.028DOI Listing
April 2018

Building trophic specializations that result in substantial niche partitioning within a young adaptive radiation.

J Anat 2018 02 21;232(2):173-185. Epub 2017 Nov 21.

Department of Subatomic and Radiation Physics, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.

Dietary partitioning often accompanies the increased morphological diversity seen during adaptive radiations within aquatic systems. While such niche partitioning would be expected in older radiations, it is unclear how significant morphological divergence occurs within a shorter time period. Here we show how differential growth in key elements of the feeding mechanism can bring about pronounced functional differences among closely related species. An incredibly young adaptive radiation of three Cyprinodon species residing within hypersaline lakes in San Salvador Island, Bahamas, has recently been described. Characterized by distinct head shapes, gut content analyses revealed three discrete feeding modes in these species: basal detritivory as well as derived durophagy and lepidophagy (scale-feeding). We dissected, cleared and stained, and micro-CT scanned species to assess functionally relevant differences in craniofacial musculoskeletal elements. The widespread feeding mode previously described for cyprinodontiforms, in which the force of the bite may be secondary to the requisite dexterity needed to pick at food items, is modified within both the scale specialist and the durophagous species. While the scale specialist has greatly emphasized maxillary retraction, using it to overcome the poor mechanical advantage associated with scale-eating, the durophage has instead stabilized the maxilla. In all species the bulk of the adductor musculature is composed of AM A1. However, the combined masses of both adductor mandibulae (AM) A1 and A3 in the scale specialist were five times that of the other species, showing the importance of growth in functional divergence. The scale specialist combines plesiomorphic jaw mechanisms with both a hypertrophied AM A1 and a slightly modified maxillary anatomy (with substantial functional implications) to generate a bite that is both strong and allows a wide range of motion in the upper jaw, two attributes that normally tradeoff mechanically. Thus, a significant feeding innovation (scale-eating, rarely seen in fishes) may evolve based largely on allometric changes in ancestral structures. Alternatively, the durophage shows reduced growth with foreshortened jaws that are stabilized by an immobile maxilla. Overall, scale specialists showed the most divergent morphology, suggesting that selection for scale-biting might be stronger or act on a greater number of traits than selection for either detritivory or durophagy. The scale specialist has colonized an adaptive peak that few lineages have climbed. Thus, heterochronic changes in growth can quickly produce functionally relevant change among closely related species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/joa.12742DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5770325PMC
February 2018

Functional Innovations and the Conquest of the Oceans by Acanthomorph Fishes.

Curr Biol 2017 Jun;27(11):R550-R557

Department of Evolution and Ecology, Center for Population Biology, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA. Electronic address:

The world's oceans are home to many fantastic creatures, including about 16,000 species of actinopterygian, or ray-finned, fishes. Notably, 85% of marine fish species come from a single actinopterygian subgroup, the acanthomorph or spiny-rayed fishes. Here, we review eight functional innovations found in marine acanthomorphs that have been instrumental in the adaptive radiation of this group in the marine realm. Jaw protrusion substantially enhances the suction feeding mechanism found in all fish. Fin spines serve as a major deterrent to predators and enhance the locomotor function of fins. Pharyngognathy, a specialization of the second pair of jaws in the pharynx, enhances the ability of fishes to process hard and tough prey. Endothermy allows fishes to function at high levels of physiological performance in cold waters and facilitates frequent movement across strong thermal gradients found in the open ocean. Intramandibular joints enhance feeding for fishes that bite and scrape prey attached to hard surfaces. Antifreeze proteins prevent ice crystal growth in extracellular fluids, allowing fish to function in cold waters that would otherwise freeze them. Air-breathing allowed fishes at the water's edge to exploit terrestrial habitats. Finally, bioluminescence functions in communication, attracting prey and in hiding from predators, particularly for fishes of the deep ocean. All of these innovations have evolved multiple times in fishes. The frequent occurrence of convergent evolution of these complex functional novelties speaks to the persistence and potency of the selective forces in marine environments that challenge fishes and stimulate innovation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2017.03.044DOI Listing
June 2017

New insights on the sister lineage of percomorph fishes with an anchored hybrid enrichment dataset.

Mol Phylogenet Evol 2017 05 27;110:27-38. Epub 2017 Feb 27.

Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA; Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.

Percomorph fishes represent over 17,100 species, including several model organisms and species of economic importance. Despite continuous advances in the resolution of the percomorph Tree of Life, resolution of the sister lineage to Percomorpha remains inconsistent but restricted to a small number of candidate lineages. Here we use an anchored hybrid enrichment (AHE) dataset of 132 loci with over 99,000 base pairs to identify the sister lineage of percomorph fishes. Initial analyses of this dataset failed to recover a strongly supported sister clade to Percomorpha, however, scrutiny of the AHE dataset revealed a bias towards high GC content at fast-evolving codon partitions (GC bias). By combining several existing approaches aimed at mitigating the impacts of convergence in GC bias, including RY coding and analyses of amino acids, we consistently recovered a strongly supported clade comprised of Holocentridae (squirrelfishes), Berycidae (Alfonsinos), Melamphaidae (bigscale fishes), Cetomimidae (flabby whalefishes), and Rondeletiidae (redmouth whalefishes) as the sister lineage to Percomorpha. Additionally, implementing phylogenetic informativeness (PI) based metrics as a filtration method yielded this same topology, suggesting PI based approaches will preferentially filter these fast-evolving regions and act in a manner consistent with other phylogenetic approaches aimed at mitigating GC bias. Our results provide a new perspective on a key issue for studies investigating the evolutionary history of more than one quarter of all living species of vertebrates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2017.02.017DOI Listing
May 2017

Global ecological success of fishes in extreme coral reef habitats.

Ecol Evol 2017 01 20;7(1):466-472. Epub 2016 Dec 20.

ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies College of Marine & Environmental Sciences James Cook University Townsville QLD Australia.

Phenotypic adaptations can allow organisms to relax abiotic selection and facilitate their ecological success in challenging habitats, yet we have relatively little data for the prevalence of this phenomenon at macroecological scales. Using data on the relative abundance of coral reef wrasses and parrotfishes (f. Labridae) spread across three ocean basins and the Red Sea, we reveal the consistent global dominance of extreme wave-swept habitats by fishes in the genus , with abundances up to 15 times higher than any other labrid. A key locomotor modification-a winged pectoral fin that facilitates efficient underwater flight in high-flow environments-is likely to have underpinned this global success, as numerical dominance by was contingent upon the presence of high-intensity wave energy. The ecological success of the most abundant species also varied with species richness and the presence of congeneric competitors. While several fish taxa have independently evolved winged pectoral fins, appears to have combined efficient high-speed swimming (to relax abiotic selection) with trophic versatility (to maximize exploitation of rich resources) to exploit and dominate extreme coral reef habitats around the world.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.2624DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5214093PMC
January 2017

The Impact of Organismal Innovation on Functional and Ecological Diversification.

Integr Comp Biol 2016 09 3;56(3):479-88. Epub 2016 Jul 3.

*Department of Evolution and Ecology, Center for Population Biology University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.

Innovations in organismal functional morphology are thought to be a major force in shaping evolutionary patterns, with the potential to drive adaptive radiation and influence the evolutionary prospects for lineages. But the evolutionary consequences of innovation are diverse and usually do not result in adaptive radiation. What factors shape the macroevolutionary impact of innovations? We assert that little is known in general about the macroevolutionary outcomes associated with functional innovations and we discuss a framework for studying biological innovations in an evolutionary context. Innovations are novel functional mechanisms that enhance organismal performance. The ubiquity of trade-offs in functional systems means that enhanced performance on one axis often occurs at the expense of performance on another axis, such that many innovations result in an exchange of performance capabilities, rather than an expansion. Innovations may open up new resources for exploitation but their consequences for functional and ecological diversification depend heavily on the adaptive landscape around these novel resources. As an example of a broader program that we imagine, we survey five feeding innovations in labrid fishes, an exceptionally successful and ecologically diverse group of reef fishes, and explore their impact on the rate of evolution of jaw functional morphology. All of the innovations provide performance enhancements and result in changes in patterns of resource use, but most are not associated with subsequent functional diversification or substantial ecological diversification. Because selection acts on a specific performance enhancement and not on the evolutionary potential of an innovation, the enhancement of diversity may be highly serendipitous. The macroevolutionary potential of innovations depends critically on the interaction between the performance enhancement and the ecological opportunity that is exposed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icb/icw081DOI Listing
September 2016

Replicated divergence in cichlid radiations mirrors a major vertebrate innovation.

Proc Biol Sci 2016 Jan;283(1822)

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA

Decoupling of the upper jaw bones--jaw kinesis--is a distinctive feature of the ray-finned fishes, but it is not clear how the innovation is related to the extraordinary diversity of feeding behaviours and feeding ecology in this group. We address this issue in a lineage of ray-finned fishes that is well known for its ecological and functional diversity--African rift lake cichlids. We sequenced ultraconserved elements to generate a phylogenomic tree of the Lake Tanganyika and Lake Malawi cichlid radiations. We filmed a diverse array of over 50 cichlid species capturing live prey and quantified the extent of jaw kinesis in the premaxillary and maxillary bones. Our combination of phylogenomic and kinematic data reveals a strong association between biting modes of feeding and reduced jaw kinesis, suggesting that the contrasting demands of biting and suction feeding have strongly influenced cranial evolution in both cichlid radiations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2015.1413DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4721080PMC
January 2016

Intermediate Kinematics Produce Inferior Feeding Performance in a Classic Case of Natural Hybridization.

Am Nat 2015 Dec 30;186(6):807-14. Epub 2015 Sep 30.

Department of Evolution and Ecology, University of California, Davis, California 95616.

Selection on naturally occurring hybrid individuals is a key component of speciation theory, but few studies examine the functional basis of hybrid performance. We examine the functional consequences of hybridization in nature, using the freshwater sunfishes (Centrarchidae), where natural hybrids have been studied for more than a century and a half. We examined bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus), green sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus), and their naturally occurring hybrid, using prey-capture kinematics and morphology to parameterize suction-feeding simulations on divergent parental resources. Hybrid individuals exhibited kinematics intermediate between those of the two parental species. However, performance assays indicated that hybrids display performance most similar to the worse-performing species for a given parental resource. Our results show that intermediate hybrid phenotypes can be impaired by a less-than-intermediate performance and hence suffer a larger loss in fitness than could be inferred from morphology alone.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/683464DOI Listing
December 2015

A pharyngeal jaw evolutionary innovation facilitated extinction in Lake Victoria cichlids.

Science 2015 Nov;350(6264):1077-9

Department of Evolution and Ecology and Center for Population Biology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.

Evolutionary innovations, traits that give species access to previously unoccupied niches, may promote speciation and adaptive radiation. Here, we show that such innovations can also result in competitive inferiority and extinction. We present evidence that the modified pharyngeal jaws of cichlid fishes and several marine fish lineages, a classic example of evolutionary innovation, are not universally beneficial. A large-scale analysis of dietary evolution across marine fish lineages reveals that the innovation compromises access to energy-rich predator niches. We show that this competitive inferiority shaped the adaptive radiation of cichlids in Lake Tanganyika and played a pivotal and previously unrecognized role in the mass extinction of cichlid fishes in Lake Victoria after Nile perch invasion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aab0800DOI Listing
November 2015

Body ram, not suction, is the primary axis of suction-feeding diversity in spiny-rayed fishes.

J Exp Biol 2016 Jan 23;219(Pt 1):119-28. Epub 2015 Nov 23.

Department of Evolution and Ecology, University of California, Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA.

Suction-feeding fishes exhibit diverse prey-capture strategies that vary in their relative use of suction and predator approach (ram), which is often referred to as the ram-suction continuum. Previous research has found that ram varies more than suction distance among species, such that ram accounts for most differences in prey-capture behaviors. To determine whether these findings hold at broad evolutionary scales, we collected high-speed videos of 40 species of spiny-rayed fishes (Acanthomorpha) feeding on live prey. For each strike, we calculated the contributions of suction, body ram (swimming) and jaw ram (mouth movement relative to the body) to closing the distance between predator and prey. We confirm that the contribution of suction distance is limited even in this phylogenetically and ecologically broad sample of species, with the extreme suction area of prey-capture space conspicuously unoccupied. Instead of a continuum from suction to ram, we find that variation in body ram is the major factor underlying the diversity of prey-capture strategies among suction-feeding fishes. Independent measurement of the contribution of jaw ram revealed that it is an important component of diversity among spiny-rayed fishes, with a number of ecomorphologies relying heavily on jaw ram, including pivot feeding in syngnathiforms, extreme jaw protruders and benthic sit-and-wait ambush predators. A combination of morphological and behavioral innovations has allowed fish to invade the extreme jaw ram area of prey-capture space. We caution that while two-species comparisons may support a ram-suction trade-off, these patterns do not speak to broader patterns across spiny-rayed fishes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/jeb.129015DOI Listing
January 2016

Retinal topography maps in R: new tools for the analysis and visualization of spatial retinal data.

J Vis 2015 ;15(9):19

Retinal topography maps are a widely used tool in vision science, neuroscience, and visual ecology, providing an informative visualization of the spatial distribution of cell densities across the retinal hemisphere. Here, we introduce Retina, an R package for computational mapping, inspection of topographic model fits, and generation of average maps. Functions in Retina take cell count data obtained from retinal wholemounts using stereology software. Accurate visualizations and comparisons between different eyes have been difficult in the past, because of deformation and incisions of retinal wholemounts. We account for these issues by incorporation of the R package Retistruct, which results in a retrodeformation of the wholemount into a hemispherical shape, similar to the original eyecup. The maps are generated by thin plate splines, after the data were transformed into a two-dimensional space with an azimuthal equidistant plot projection. Retina users can compute retinal topography maps independent of stereology software choice and assess model fits with a variety of diagnostic plots. Functionality of Retina also includes species average maps, an essential feature for interspecific analyses. The Retina package will facilitate rigorous comparative studies in visual ecology by providing a robust quantitative approach to generate retinal topography maps.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1167/15.9.19DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4527213PMC
November 2015

How warm is too warm for the life cycle of actinopterygian fishes?

Sci Rep 2015 Jul 13;5:11597. Epub 2015 Jul 13.

Department of Evolution and Ecology, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, California 95616.

We investigated the highest constant temperature at which actinopterygian fishes can complete their lifecycles, based on an oxygen supply model for cleavage-stage eggs. This stage is one of the most heat-sensitive periods during the lifecycle, likely reflecting the exhaustion of maternally supplied heat shock proteins without new production. The model suggests that average eggs would not develop normally under a constant temperature of about 36 °C or higher. This estimate matches published empirical values derived from laboratory and field observations. Spermatogenesis is more heat sensitive than embryogenesis in fishes, so the threshold may indeed be lower, at about 35 °C, unless actinopterygian fishes evolve heat tolerance during spermatogenesis as in birds. Our model also predicts an inverse relationship between egg size and temperature, and empirical data support this prediction. Therefore, the average egg size, and hence hatching size, is expected to shrink in a greenhouse world but a feeding function prohibits the survival of very small hatchlings, posing a limit to the shrinkage. It was once suggested that a marine animal community may be sustained under temperatures up to about 38 °C, and this value is being used, for example, in paleotemperature reconstruction. A revision of the value is overdue. (199/200).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep11597DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4648408PMC
July 2015

Are 100 enough? Inferring acanthomorph teleost phylogeny using Anchored Hybrid Enrichment.

BMC Evol Biol 2015 Jun 14;15:113. Epub 2015 Jun 14.

Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University, New Haven, 06520, CT, USA.

Background: The past decade has witnessed remarkable progress towards resolution of the Tree of Life. However, despite the increased use of genomic scale datasets, some phylogenetic relationships remain difficult to resolve. Here we employ anchored phylogenomics to capture 107 nuclear loci in 29 species of acanthomorph teleost fishes, with 25 of these species sampled from the recently delimited clade Ovalentaria. Previous studies employing multilocus nuclear exon datasets have not been able to resolve the nodes at the base of the Ovalentaria tree with confidence. Here we test whether a phylogenomic approach will provide better support for these nodes, and if not, why this may be.

Results: After using a novel method to account for paralogous loci, we estimated phylogenies with maximum likelihood and species tree methods using DNA sequence alignments of over 80,000 base pairs. Several key relationships within Ovalentaria are well resolved, including 1) the sister taxon relationship between Cichlidae and Pholidichthys, 2) a clade containing blennies, grammas, clingfishes, and jawfishes, and 3) monophyly of Atherinomorpha (topminnows, flyingfishes, and silversides). However, many nodes in the phylogeny associated with the early diversification of Ovalentaria are poorly resolved in several analyses. Through the use of rarefaction curves we show that limited phylogenetic resolution among the earliest nodes in the Ovalentaria phylogeny does not appear to be due to a deficiency of data, as average global node support ceases to increase when only 1/3rd of the sampled loci are used in analyses. Instead this lack of resolution may be driven by model misspecification as a Bayesian mixed model analysis of the amino acid dataset provided good support for parts of the base of the Ovalentaria tree.

Conclusions: Although it does not appear that the limited phylogenetic resolution among the earliest nodes in the Ovalentaria phylogeny is due to a deficiency of data, it may be that both stochastic and systematic error resulting from model misspecification play a role in the poor resolution at the base of the Ovalentaria tree as a Bayesian approach was able to resolve some of the deeper nodes, where the other methods failed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12862-015-0415-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4465735PMC
June 2015