Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Nat Ecol Evol. 2019 Feb;3(2):191-199. doi: 10.1038/s41559-018-0725-x. Epub 2018 Nov 26.

Reef fish functional traits evolve fastest at trophic extremes.

Author information

1
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA. sborstei@vols.utk.edu.
2
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA.
3
Department of Evolution and Ecology, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA, USA.
4
School of Biological Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Abstract

Trophic ecology is thought to exert a profound influence on biodiversity, but the specifics of the process are rarely examined at large spatial and evolutionary scales. We investigate how trophic position and diet breadth influence functional trait evolution in one of the most species-rich and complex vertebrate assemblages, coral reef fishes, within a large-scale phylogenetic framework. We show that, in contrast with established theory, functional traits evolve fastest in trophic specialists with narrow diet breadths at both very low and high trophic positions. Top trophic level specialists exhibit the most functional diversity, while omnivorous taxa with intermediate trophic positions and wide diet breadth have the least functional diversity. Our results reveal the importance of trophic position in shaping evolutionary dynamics while simultaneously highlighting the incredible trophic and functional diversity present in coral reef fish assemblages.

PMID:
30478309
DOI:
10.1038/s41559-018-0725-x

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center