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Modular diversification of the locomotor system in damselfishes (Pomacentridae)
Aguilar-Medrano, R.; Frédérich, B.; Barber, P.H. (2016). Modular diversification of the locomotor system in damselfishes (Pomacentridae). J. Morphol. 277(5): 603-614.
In: Journal of Morphology. The Wistar Institute Press/Wiley: Philadelphia, Pa . ISSN 0362-2525; e-ISSN 1097-4687, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    modularity; integration; locomotion; geometric morphometrics; reef fish;ecomorphology; evolutionary morphology

Authors  Top 
  • Aguilar-Medrano, R.
  • Frédérich, B., more
  • Barber, P.H.

    As fish move and interact with their aquatic environment by swimming, small morphological variations of the locomotor system can have profound implications on fitness. Damselfishes (Pomacentridae) have inhabited coral reef ecosystems for more than 50 million years. As such, habitat preferences and behavior could significantly constrain the morphology and evolvability of the locomotor system. To test this hypothesis, we used phylogenetic comparative methods on morphometric, ecological and behavioral data. While body elongation represented the primary source of variation in the locomotor system of damselfishes, results also showed a diverse suite of morphological combinations between extreme morphologies. Results show clear associations between behavior, habitat preferences, and morphology, suggesting ecological constraints on shape diversification of the locomotor system. In addition, results indicate that the three modules of the locomotor system are weakly correlated, resulting in versatile and independent characters. These results suggest that Pomacentridae is shape may result from the interaction between (1) integrated parts of morphological variation that maintain overall swimming ability and (2) relatively independent parts of the morphology that facilitate adaptation and diversification.

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