Key concepts concerning the tempo and mode of evolution – including adaptive radiations and living fossils – trace their intellectual roots to broad patterns of phenotypic change apparent over long timescales. However, modern studies of diversification in a comparative context overwhelmingly focus on a limited number of traits in small clades that have radiated recently in geologically ephemeral and geographically restricted environments. Although successful in the modern day, it is unclear how such groups might contribute to future diversity, or whether model ‘microcosms’ are appropriate for understanding the origin of variety in groups with ancient evolutionary roots and which diversified on wide spatial scales. With their considerable range of ecologies and morphologies, fishes include many key systems in the study of evolutionary diversification. In conjunction with the application of new genomic, comparative, and paleontological tools, I will show how this remarkable variety can be harnessed in order to critically test of a series of live hypotheses concerning the evolutionary origin of modern vertebrate diversity.
Host: Professor Chris Dick
Coffee and cookies will be served at 4 p.m.