[PAST EVENT] Not all miniatures are equal: Exploring the effects of miniaturization on the fish skeleton

March 15, 2013
VIMS - Watermen's Hall, McHugh Auditorium
1375 Greate Road
Gloucester Point, VA 23062Map this location
Presenter: Dr. Kevin Conway, Texas A & M University

Reception at 3:00 p.m. in the lobby of Watermen's Hall
Seminar from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in McHugh Auditorium

"Not all miniatures are equal: exploring the effects of miniaturization on the teleost skeleton"

Reception at 3:00 pm in the Watermen's Lobby

Seminar from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm in McHugh Auditorium

Dr. Conway's research explores the anatomical and taxonomic diversity of ray-finned fishes from an evolutionary standpoint. Ray-finned fishes are one of the most diverse groups of vertebrates. As an evolutionary morphologist, he investigates this diversity not only to further our understanding of vertebrate anatomy in general, but also to provide novel information to advance our understanding of phylogenetic relationships. Such detailed investigation of morphology frequently leads to the discovery of previously unrecognized taxonomic diversity.

Miniaturization, the evolution of tiny adult body size, is widespread amongst invertebrates and vertebrates. During the last decade a number of tiny vertebrates have been discovered, including several cypriniforms (carp-like fishes) measuring less than 15 mm in length from South East Asia. Dr. Conway's previous research on these miniature cypriniforms has identified two distinct classes of miniature taxa, including proportioned dwarfs (which represent miniature replicas of larger relatives) and developmentally truncated miniatures (which exhibit characteristics of earlier developmental stages of larger relatives). Despite their overall larval appearance, developmentally truncated miniature cypriniforms frequently exhibit remarkable evolutionary novelties, indicating a link between truncation and novelty. Miniaturization has occurred independently multiple times across the Teleostei, and miniature taxa are common in lineages of shallow water marine fishes (e.g., Gobiesocidae, Gobioidei, Blennoidei). A cursory survey of miniaturization across the Teleostei reveals proportioned dwarfism to be common but “organismal-wide” developmental truncation to be incredibly rare. Dr. Conway will present some striking examples of miniaturization from the Teleostei, including both freshwater cypriniformes from South East Asia and benthic marine fishes.

[[seitz, Rochelle Seitz]] at 804-684-7698