Fishes on coral reefs: changing roles over the past 240 million years

Goatley, Christopher H.R., Bellwood, David R., and Bellwood, Orpha (2010) Fishes on coral reefs: changing roles over the past 240 million years. Paleobiology, 36 (3). pp. 415-427.

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Key morphological traits reveal changes in functional morphospace occupation of reef fish assemblages over time. We used measurements of key functional attributes (i.e., lower jaw length and orbit diameter) of 208 fossil fish species from five geological periods to create bivariate plots of functional morphological traits through time. These plots were used to examine possible function and ecological characteristics of fossil reef fish assemblages throughout the Mesozoic and Cenozoic. A previously unknown trend of increasing orbit diameter over time became apparent. The Teleostei are the principal drivers of this change. The Eocene appears to mark a dramatic increase in two previously rare feeding modes in fishes: nocturnal feeding and high-precision benthic feeding. Interestingly, members of the Pycnodontiformes had relatively large eyes since the Triassic and appear to be the ecological precursors of their later teleost counterparts and may have been among the earliest nocturnal feeding fishes. Our results highlight potential changes in the roles of fishes on coral reefs through time.

Item ID: 15106
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1938-5331
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2010 03:55
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 75%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060206 Palaeoecology @ 25%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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