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Evolution of the boxfish carapace: functional consequences of shape

  • Author(s): Marcroft, Tina Ashley
  • Advisor(s): Alfaro, Michael E
  • et al.
Abstract

Boxfishes are a group of heavily armored Tetraodontiform fishes that are highly variable in shape. Disparification of shape could be driven by a simple performance trade-off between its two hypothesized primary functions: protection from predation and maneuverability. Alternatively, disparification could be driven by many-to-one mapping of shape to performance, where a relaxation in morphological constraint where many of morphologies have the same performance. We tested this by isolating the major features of the boxfish carapace shape and tested for their correlation to performance, as well as for a negative correlation between performances. We found that some features were correlated but very weakly, and that the two performances did trade-off but also weakly. This weak correlation primarily suggests that many-to-one mapping of shape to performance is driving disparification, which was unobserved in continuous 3D shape systems until this study.

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