Mainland size variation informs predictive models of exceptional insular body size change in rodents.
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The tendency for island populations of mammalian taxa to diverge in body size from their mainland counterparts consistently in particular directions is both impressive for its regularity and, especially among rodents, troublesome for its exceptions. However, previous studies have largely ignored mainland body size variation, treating size differences of any magnitude as equally noteworthy. Here, we use distributions of mainland population body sizes to identify island populations as 'extremely' big or small, and we compare traits of extreme populations and their islands with those of island populations more typical in body size. We find that although insular rodents vary in the directions of body size change, 'extreme' populations tend towards gigantism. With classification tree methods, we develop a predictive model, which points to resource limitations as major drivers in the few cases of insular dwarfism. Highly successful in classifying our dataset, our model also successfully predicts change in untested cases.
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.1098/rspb.2015.0239
Publication InfoDurst, Paul AP; & Roth, V Louise (2015). Mainland size variation informs predictive models of exceptional insular body size change in rodents. Proc Biol Sci, 282(1810). 10.1098/rspb.2015.0239. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/10232.
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Professor of Biology
In addition to conceptual work on the biological bases of homology, variation, and parallel evolution, my research has focused on evolutionary changes in size and shape in mammals: the functional consequences of these changes, and the evolutionary modifications of ontogenetic processes that produce them. This work makes use of DNA sequences, morphometric data, and geographic distributions to study macroevolutionary changes within a phylogenetic context. Projects have included DNA sequen