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Evolution of predation-related characters in neogene Atlantic Coastal plain corbulids and lucinids

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
John Warren Huntley (Creator)
Institution
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site: http://library.uncw.edu/
Advisor
Patricia Kelley

Abstract: The hypothesis of escalation proposes that biologic hazards, such as predation, have increased through the Phanerozoic and that these hazards are important agents of selection. Traits that give organisms an advantage over their enemies (predators, competitors, and dangerous prey) should become better expressed with time. The naticid predator-prey system is ideal for testing the hypothesis of escalation, because the characteristic predatory drill holes made by naticid gastropods in their hard-shelled prey produce a fossil record of predator-prey interaction. Three species from the bivalve families Corbulidae and Lucinidae from the US Atlantic Coastal Plain ranging in age from Miocene to Pleistocene were examined in this study. Anti-predatory related morphologic characters (valve thickness, internal volume, and cost-benefit ratio) were traced through the time interval studied. Valve thickness and cost-benefit ratio were hypothesized to increase with time. Internal volume was hypothesized to decrease with time. Three of nine predicted trends in anti-predatory morphology were confirmed. Valve thickness increased in Caryocorbula conradi. Cost-benefit ratio increased in C. conradi and Parvilucina crenulata. The evolution of anti-predatory traits was not correlated with changes in drilling predation intensity nor prey effectiveness. The evolution of anti-predatory morphology by the corbulids and lucinids may have been outpaced by the evolution of the naticid predators. Determining causes in the evolution of shell morphology is complicated, but the driving force of evolution is likely attributable to selection produced by predators, primary productivity, and abiotic factors.

Additional Information

Publication
Thesis
A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science
Language: English
Date: 2009
Keywords
Corbulidae--Morphology, Corbulidae--United States--Atlantic Coastal Plain, Lucinidae--Morphology, Lucinidae--United States--Atlantic Coastal Plain, Predation (Biology)
Subjects
Lucinidae -- United States -- Atlantic Coastal Plain
Corbulidae -- United States -- Atlantic Coastal Plain
Predation (Biology)
Lucinidae -- Morphology
Corbulidae -- Morphology