Morphological Disparity and Missing Data

Morphological diversity, or disparity, is the range of forms present within a clade. Disparity analysis can illustrate how the morphology of a group has changed over time. By examining disparity using a morphospace a picture of how the paleoecology has driven functional change can be drawn. This involves gathering various functionally relevant measurements and characters for the lineage in question. However, it is rare for paleontological specimens to be perfectly preserved in the fossil record and as a result there will often be missing data for a number of taxa in the character matrix. Missing data is known to be a problem in disparity studies, yet only a few studies have sought to investigate the effects of missing data, or how to solve them.

This project has recently been published by Evolution - See the publications page. Please contact me if you would like a pdf. The scripts are available on Dryad doi:10.5061/dryad.d380g

Missing Data Series

Centrarchid Body Shape Evolution

What drives rapid speciation? A multitude of reasons have been suggested to answer this question: ecological release, evolution of a novel morphological trait, the inovation of a new reproductive strategy etc. We are currently using phylogentic comparative methods to understand what drove the radiation of the Centrarchid fish. These fish have a diverse array of foraging and reproductive strategies so represent an ideal system to better understand the mechanisms behind an evolutionary radiation.

This research is in collaboration with the Albertson lab and an undergraduate student, Nathan Nelson-Maney, at UMass Amherst.

This project has recently been published by Evolutionary Biology - See the publications page. Please contact me if you would like a pdf.

Centrarchid Morphospace UMass Logo Dark