Ancestral Character States (ancestral + character_states)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts


EVOLUTION, Issue 4 2004
Lukas Rüber
Abstract The origin of and evolutionary transitions among the extraordinary diverse forms of parental care in teleost fish remain largely unknown. The "safe harbor" hypothesis predicts that the evolution from a "guarding" to a "brooding" form of care in teleost fish is associated with shifts in reproductive and life-history features such as reduced fecundity, and increased egg volume with higher parental investment. Robust phylogenetic hypotheses may help to identify evolutionary changes in key traits associated with differences in the form of parental care. Here, we used reconstruction of ancestral character states to study the evolution of the two forms of parental care, bubble nesting and mouthbrooding in the fighting fish genus Betta. We also applied a comparative analysis using the phylogenetic generalized least-squares method to test the "safe harbor" hypothesis by evaluating differences between the two forms of parental care in standard length, life-history traits, and three habitat variables. Evolutionary hypotheses were derived from the first molecular phylogeny (nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequence data; 4448 bp) of this speciose group. Ancestral character state reconstructions of the evolution of the form of parental care in the genus Betta, using the methods of unweighted parsimony and maximum likelihood, are uncertain and further indicate a high rate of evolutionary transitions. Applying different weights for the suspected directionality of changes, based on the consistent phenotypic and behavioral differences found between bubble nesters and mouthbrooders, recurrent origin of mouthbrooding in the genus Betta is favored using parsimony. Our comparative analyses further demonstrate that bubble nesters and mouthbrooders do not have a consistent set of life-history correlates. The form of parental care in Betta is correlated only with offspring size, with mouthbrooders having significantly bigger offspring than bubble nesters, but is not correlated with egg volume, clutch size, and broodcare duration, nor with any of the three habitat variables tested. Our results thus challenge the general predictions of the "safe harbor" hypothesis for the evolution of alternative brood care forms in the fighting fish genus Betta. [source]

The evolution of brachiation in ateline primates, ancestral character states and history

Andrea L. Jones
Abstract This study examines how brachiation locomotion evolved in ateline primates using recently-developed molecular phylogenies and character reconstruction algorithms, and a newly-collected dataset including the fossils Protopithecus, Caipora, and Cebupithecia. Fossils are added to two platyrrhine molecular phylogenies to create several phylogenetic scenarios. A generalized least squares algorithm reconstructs ateline and atelin ancestral character states for 17 characters that differentiate between ateline brachiators and nonbrachiators. Histories of these characters are mapped out on these phylogenies, producing two scenarios of ateline brachiation evolution that have four commonalities: First, many characters change towards the Ateles condition on the ateline stem lineage before Alouatta splits off from the atelins, suggesting that an ateline energy-maximizing strategy began before the atelines diversified. Second, the ateline last common ancestor is always reconstructed as an agile quadruped, usually with suspensory abilities. It is never exactly like Alouatta and many characters reverse and change towards the Alouatta condition after Alouatta separates from the atelins. Third, most characters undergo homoplastic change in all ateline lineages, especially on the Ateles and Brachyteles terminal branches. Fourth, ateline character evolution probably went through a hindlimb suspension with tail-bracing phase. The atelines most likely diversified via a quick adaptive radiation, with bursts of punctuated change occurring in their postcranial skeletons, due to changing climatic conditions, which may have caused competition among the atelines and between atelines and pitheciines. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Influence of different substrates on the evolution of morphology and life-history traits of azooxanthellate solitary corals (Scleractinia: Flabellidae)

Sessile organisms are influenced considerably by their substrate conditions, and their adaptive strategies are key to understanding their morphologic evolution and traits of life history. The family Flabellidae (Cnidaria: Scleractinia) is composed of the representative azooxanthellate solitary corals that live on both soft and hard substrates using various adaptive strategies. We reconstructed the phylogenetic tree and ancestral character states of this family from the mitochondrial 16S and nuclear 28S ribosomal DNA sequences of ten flabellids aiming to infer the evolution of their adaptive strategies. The Javania lineage branched off first and adapted to hard substrates by using a tectura-reinforced base. The extant free-living flabellids, including Flabellum and Truncatoflabellum, invaded soft substrates and acquired the flabellate corallum morphology of their common ancestor, followed by a remarkable radiation with the exploitation of adaptive strategies, such as external soft tissue [e.g. Flabellum (Ulocyathus)], thecal edge spine, and transverse division (e.g. Placotrochus and Truncatoflabellum). Subsequently, the free-living ancestors of two genera (Rhizotrochus and Monomyces) invaded hard substrates independently by exploiting distinct attachment apparatuses such as tube-like and massive rootlets, respectively. In conclusion, flabellids developed various morphology and life-history traits according to the differences in substrate conditions during the course of their evolution. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 101, 184,192. [source]