C. Darrin Hulsey's research while affiliated with Universität Konstanz and other places

Publications (128)

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Cichlid fishes have repeatedly evolved an astounding diversity of trophic morphologies. For example, hypertrophied lips have evolved multiple times in both African and Neotropical cichlids and could have even evolved convergently within single species assemblages such as African Lake Malawi cichlids. However, the extremely high diversification rate...
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Whole genome sequences are beginning to revolutionise our understanding of phylogenetic relationships. Yet, even whole genome sequences can fail to resolve the evolutionary history of the most rapidly radiating lineages, where incomplete lineage sorting, standing genetic variation, introgression, and other factors obscure the phylogenetic history o...
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Color patterns are often linked to the behavioral and morphological characteristics of an animal, contributing to the effectiveness of such patterns as antipredatory strategies. Species-rich adaptive radiations, such as the freshwater fish family Cichlidae, provide an exciting opportunity to study trait correlations at a macroevolutionary scale. Ci...
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Species delimitation is fundamental to deciphering the mechanisms that generate and maintain biodiversity. Alpha taxonomy historically relied on expert knowledge to describe new species using phenotypic and biogeographic evidence, which has the appearance of investigator subjectivity. In contrast, DNA-based methods using the multispecies coalescent...
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Factors ranging from ecological opportunity to genome composition might explain why only some lineages form adaptive radiations. While being rare, particular systems can provide natural experiments within an identical ecological setting where the factors promoting increased species numbers and phenotypic divergence in two closely related lineages i...
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The transition from ‘well-marked varieties’ of a single species into ‘well-defined species’—especially in the absence of geographic barriers to gene flow (sympatric speciation)—has puzzled evolutionary biologists ever since Darwin1,2. Gene flow counteracts the buildup of genome-wide differentiation, which is a hallmark of speciation and increases t...
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Synopsis Dental convergence is a hallmark of cichlid fish adaptive radiations. This type of repeated evolution characterizes both the oral jaws of these fishes as well as their pharyngeal jaws that are modified gill arches used to functionally process prey like hard-shelled mollusks. To test several hypotheses regarding the evolution of cichlid cru...
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The two toothed jaws of cichlid fishes provide textbook examples of convergent evolution. Tooth phenotypes such as enlarged molar-like teeth used to process hard-shelled molluscs have evolved numerous times independently during cichlid diversification. While the ecological benefit of molar-like teeth to crush prey is known, it is unclear whether th...
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Synopsis Teeth are critical to the functional ecology of vertebrate trophic abilities, but are also used for a diversity of other non-trophic tasks. Teeth can play a substantial role in how animals move, manipulate their environment, positively interact with conspecifics, antagonistically interact with other organisms, and sense the environment. We...
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Synopsis Vertebrates interact directly with food items through their dentition, and these interactions with trophic resources could often feedback to influence tooth structure. Although dentitions are often considered to be a fixed phenotype, there is the potential for environmentally induced phenotypic plasticity in teeth to extensively influence...
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Teeth are a model system for integrating developmental genomics, functional morphology, and evolution. We are at the cusp of being able to address many open issues in comparative tooth biology, and we outline several of these newly tractable and exciting research directions. Like never before, technological advances and methodological approaches ar...
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MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play crucial roles in the post-transcriptional control of messenger RNA (mRNA). These miRNA-mRNA regulatory networks are present in nearly all organisms and contribute to development, phenotypic divergence, and speciation. To examine the miRNA landscape of cichlid fishes, one of the most species-rich families of vertebrates, we p...
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Cichlid fishes provide textbook examples of explosive phenotypic diversification and sympatric speciation, thereby making them ideal systems for studying the molecular mechanisms underlying rapid lineage divergence. Despite the fact that gene regulation provides a critical link between diversification in gene function and speciation, many genomic r...
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Complexity in how mechanistic variation translates into ecological novelty could be critical to organismal diversification. For instance, when multiple distinct morphologies can generate the same mechanical or functional phenotype, this could mitigate trade-offs and/or provide alternative ways to meet the same ecological challenge. To investigate h...
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Background Phylogenies provide critical information about convergence during adaptive radiation. To test whether there have been multiple origins of a distinctive trophic phenotype in one of the most rapidly radiating groups known, we used ultra-conserved elements (UCEs) to examine the evolutionary affinities of Lake Malawi cichlids lineages exhibi...
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The evolution of body shape reflects both the ecological factors structuring organismal diversity as well as an organism's underlying anatomy. For instance, body depth in fishes is thought to determine their susceptibility to predators, attractiveness to mates, as well as swimming performance. However, the internal anatomy influencing diversificati...
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The color patterns of African cichlid fishes provide notable examples of phenotypic convergence. Across the more than 1200 East African rift lake species, melanic horizontal stripes have evolved numerous times. We discovered that regulatory changes of the gene agouti-related peptide 2 (agrp2) act as molecular switches controlling this evolutionaril...
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Background: Post-transcriptional regulation is crucial for the control of eukaryotic gene expression and might contribute to adaptive divergence. The three prime untranslated regions (3' UTRs), that are located downstream of protein-coding sequences, play important roles in post-transcriptional regulation. These regions contain functional elements...
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The independent evolution of the two toothed jaws of cichlid fishes is thought to have promoted their unparalleled ecological divergence and species richness. However, dental divergence in cichlids could exhibit substantial genetic covariance and this could dictate how traits like tooth numbers evolve in different African Lakes and on their two jaw...
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Adaptive radiations could often occur in discrete stages. For instance, the species flock of ∼1000 species of Lake Malawi cichlid fishes might have only diverged once between rocky and sandy environments during the initial stage of their diversification. All further diversification within the rock-dwelling (mbuna) or sand-dwelling (utaka) cichlids...
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Hybrid phenotypes are often intermediate between those of parental species. However, hybridization can generate novel phenotypes when traits are complex. For instance, even when the morphologies of individual musculo-skeletal components do not segregate outside the parental range in hybrid offspring, complex functional systems can exhibit emergent...
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Within vertebrates, teleost fishes provide a rich evolutionary context for studying the mechanisms of dental divergence because of the numerous axes along which their teeth have diverged phenotypically and presumably developmentally. Using both a review of teleost in situ hybridization and de novo transcriptome sequencing in a cichlid fish, we exam...
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Introgression might be exceptionally common during the evolution of narrowly endemic species. For instance, in the springs of the small and isolated Cuatro Ciénegas Valley, the mitogenome of the cichlid fish Herichthys cyanoguttatus could be rapidly introgressing into populations of the trophically polymorphic H. minckleyi. We used a combination of...
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Decoupling of the upper jaw bones-jaw kinesis-is a distinctive feature of the ray-finned fishes, but it is not clear how the innovation is related to the extraordinary diversity of feeding behaviours and feeding ecology in this group. We address this issue in a lineage of ray-finned fishes that is well known for its ecological and functional divers...
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Sexual dimorphism in ecologically relevant traits is ubiquitous in animals. However, other types of intraspecific phenotypic divergence, such as trophic polymorphism, are less common. Because linkage to sex should often lead to balancing selection, understanding the association between sex and phenotypic divergence could help explain why particular...
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Despite considerable research, we still know little about the proximate and ultimate causes behind behavioral evolution. This is partly because understanding the forces acting on behavioral phenotypes requires the study of species-rich clades with extensive variation in behavioral traits, of which we have few current examples. In this paper, we int...
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Innovations permit the diversification of lineages, but they may also impose functional constraints on behaviors such as locomotion. Thus, it is not surprising that secondary simplification of novel locomotory traits has occurred several times among vertebrates and could potentially lead to exceptional divergence when constraints are relaxed. For e...
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The loss of traits is a commonly observed evolutionary pattern in cave organisms, but due to extensive morphological convergence, inferring relationships between cave and surface populations can be difficult. For instance, Astyanax mexicanus (the blind Mexican cavefish) is thought to have repeatedly lost its eyes following colonization of cave envi...