Morphometric Characterization of a Mercenaria spp. (Bivalvia) Hybrid Zone: Paleontological and Evolutionary Implications
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Multivariate statistical procedures (principal components analysis, canonical variate analysis, etc.) using Bookstein coordinates demonstrate that, within the hybrid zone, hybrid individuals cannot be identified due to extreme overlap with the parental taxa. The hybrid zone as a whole, however, can be identified by comparison with pure-species populations sampled from outside the hybrid zone. Hybrid zones occupy parental species morphospace plus intermediate morphospace. The technique of using multiple pure-species populations to establish species morphospace is introduced to control for processes that may also result in morphological intermediates at ecological time scales (dimorphism, ecophenotypy, and geographic variation). Four alternative causal explanations of morphological intermediates through geological time (primary intergradation, uncoupled genetic and morphological divergence, time-averaged evolving populations, and developmentally instable populations) are evaluated. A literature survey strongly suggests that neither time-averaging nor developmental instability is occurring at the beginning of a lineageâ s evolutionary history, and that hybridization may be much more extensive than paleontological data suggest.
- Masters Theses