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Title: Cope's rule and macroevolution of Cenozoic macroperforate planktonic foraminifera
Author: Aze, Tracy
ISNI:       0000 0004 2732 489X
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2011
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Abstract A comprehensive phylogeny of macroperforate planktonic foraminifer species of the Cenozoic Era (~65 million years ago to present) is presented. The phylogeny is developed from a large body of palaeontological work that details the evolutionary relationships and stratigraphic (time) distributions of species-level taxa identified from morphology (‘morphospecies’). Morphospecies are assigned to morphogroups and ecogroups depending on test morphology and inferred habitat, respectively. Because gradual evolution is well documented in this clade, instances of morphospecies intergrading over time have been identified, allowing the elimination ‘pseudospeciation’ and ‘pseudoextinction’ from the record and thereby permit the construction of a more natural phylogeny based on inferred biological lineages. Each cladogenetic event is determined as either budding or bifurcating depending on the pattern of morphological change at the time of branching. This lineage phylogeny provides palaeontologically calibrated ages for each divergence that are entirely independent of molecular data. The tree provides a model system for macroevolutionary studies in the fossil record addressing questions of speciation, extinction, and rates and patterns of evolution. Specifically for this thesis the phylogenies provide a statistically robust framework for testing Cope’s rule (the evolutionary trend towards larger body size along a lineage). Eleven case studies were selected at random from all possible Neogene lineages and the mean areas of ancestor and descendant populations were compared. Over 6000 measurements were taken from 30 lineages and the resulting data show that Neogene macroperforate planktonic foraminifera do not support Cope’s rule with only 48% of the ancestor-descendant population comparisons demonstrating an increase in mean area. The size analysis illustrates that the most robust method for testing Cope’s rule is to compare ancestor-descendant populations from the beginning and end of evolutionary lineages as these are the least affected by temporal sampling biases.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QE Geology