New NSF Award! Collaborative Research: Ecomorphological diversification and the origin of phenotypic disparity in crocodile-line archosaurs
We've been funded by NSF BIO to study the complexities of ecomorphological changes across major evolutionary transitions. The study will examine how novel environments put new, often extreme demands on historical phenotypes by addressing how large-scale habitat and ecological transitions drive evolution across multiple integrated anatomical systems. The research will test hypotheses about phenotypic integration on an evolutionary scale to determine whether developmental rates, sequence heterochrony, and/or patterns of modularity determine if consistently applied rules of ecomorphological diversification underlie adaptive radiations. The outcome will be an unprecedented database of crocodylomorph cranial and post-cranial diversity that includes contrast-enhanced neural and skeletal tissues, raw and partitioned CT stacks, and 3D digital models as well as comparative, intra-clade conceptual models for how predatory vertebrates shift to lives on the shoreline, within the sea, and toward herbivory. We are collaborating with Paul Gignac (OSU Center for Health Sciences), Eric Wilberg and Jeroen Smears (Stony Brook University), and Aki Watanabe (NYIT COM).