January 22 2014

12:00 LSB 2320

D. Luke Mahler
Center for Population Biology, University of California, Davis

Ecology and the Evolution of Morphological Diversity in Radiations of Anolis Lizards


The structure of ecological communities is known to shape the evolution of species over short periods, but the influence of community ecology on macroevolution is much less well understood. I conducted phylogenetic studies of Anolis lizards that diversified on similar Caribbean islands over different periods of time to test how ecological interactions affect rates and patterns of trait evolution over long time scales. In one study, I found that anoles adaptively diversified most rapidly in the absence of competing lineages, and experienced a subsequent decline in the rate of trait evolution as ecological opportunities diminished over time. In a second study, I discovered that the diversification of anoles on four ecologically similar islands resulted in the evolution of exceptionally phenotypically similar faunas, even though the islands differ in age and area. Such large-scale deterministic convergence can be explained by G.G. Simpson's model of the macroevolutionary adaptive landscape, further supporting the hypothesis that ecological factors may have long-lasting evolutionary effects.















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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