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Habitat transitions alter the adaptive landscape and shape phenotypic evolution in needlefishes (Belonidae)

Citation

Kolmann, Matthew et al. (2020), Habitat transitions alter the adaptive landscape and shape phenotypic evolution in needlefishes (Belonidae), Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.66t1g1jzc

Abstract

Habitat occupancy can have a profound influence on macroevolutionary dynamics, and a switch in major habitat type may alter the evolutionary trajectory of a lineage. In this study we investigate how evolutionary transitions between marine and freshwater habitats affect macroevolutionary adaptive landscapes, using needlefishes (Belonidae) as a model system. We examined the evolution of body shape and size in marine and freshwater needlefishes and tested for phenotypic change in response to transitions between habitats. Using micro-computed tomographic (µCT) scanning and geometric morphometrics, we quantified body shape, size, and vertebral counts of 31 belonid species. We then examined the pattern and tempo of body shape and size evolution using phylogenetic comparative methods. Our results show that transitions from marine to freshwater habitats have altered the adaptive landscape for needlefishes and expanded morphospace relative to marine taxa. We provide further evidence that freshwater taxa attain reduced sizes either through dwarfism (as inferred from axial skeletal reduction) or developmental truncation (as inferred from axial skeletal loss). We propose that transitions to freshwater habitats produce morphological novelty in response to novel prey resources and changes in locomotor demands. We find that repeated invasions of different habitats have prompted predictable changes in morphology.

Methods

from FishBase, evaluated, refined and augmented with museum data

Funding

National Science Foundation, Award: 1712015

National Science Foundation, Award: 1754627

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada