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We investigated the functional morphology and ecology of biting among the squamipinnes, an assemblage of nine successful and distinctive reef fish families. We demonstrate that an intramandibular joint (IMJ) may have evolved at least three and possibly five times in this assemblage and discuss the impact of this recurring innovation in facilitating(More)
Coral reefs, the most diverse of marine ecosystems, currently experience unprecedented levels of degradation. Diseases are now recognized as a major cause of mortality in reef-forming corals and are complicit in phase shifts of reef ecosystems to algal-dominated states worldwide. Even so, factors contributing to disease occurrence, spread, and impact remain(More)
The supertree algorithm matrix representation with parsimony was used to combine existing hypotheses of coral relationships and provide the most comprehensive species-level estimate of scleractinian phylogeny, comprised of 353 species (27% of extant species), 141 genera (63%) and 23 families (92%) from all seven suborders. The resulting supertree offers a(More)
Variation in local environmental conditions can have pronounced effects on the population structure and dynamics of marine organisms. Previous studies on crown-of-thorns starfish, Acanthaster planci, have primarily focused on effects of water quality and nutrient availability on larval growth and survival, while the role of maternal nutrition on(More)
Recruitment overfishing (the reduction of a spawning stock past a point at which the stock can no longer replenish itself) is a common problem which can lead to a rapid and irreversible fishery collapse. Averting this disaster requires maintaining a sufficient spawning population to buffer stochastic fluctuations in recruitment of heavily harvested stocks.(More)
One of our goals for the echinoderm tree of life project ( http://echinotol.org ) is to identify orthologs suitable for phylogenetic analysis from next-generation transcriptome data. The current dataset is the largest assembled for echinoderm phylogeny and transcriptomics. We used RNA-Seq to profile adult tissues from 42 echinoderm specimens from 24 orders(More)
Sexuality and reproductive mode are two fundamental life-history traits that exhibit largely unexplained macroevolutionary patterns among the major groups of multicellular organisms. For example, the cnidarian class Anthozoa (corals and anemones) is mainly comprised of gonochoric (separate sex) brooders or spawners, while one order, Scleractinia(More)
Holothuroids, or sea cucumbers, are an abundant and diverse group of echinoderms with over 1400 species occurring from the intertidal to the deepest oceanic trenches. In this study, we report the first phylogeny of this class, based on a cladistic analysis of 47 morphological characters. We introduce several previously unconsidered synapomorphic characters,(More)
Tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) help regulate the extracellular matrix (ECM) in animals, mostly by inhibiting matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). They are important activators of mutable collagenous tissue (MCT), which have been extensively studied in echinoderms, and the four TIMP copies in humans have been studied for their role in cancer.(More)