Land to sea transitions in vertebrates: the dynamics of colonization

  title={Land to sea transitions in vertebrates: the dynamics of colonization},
  author={G. Vermeij and R. Motani},
  pages={237 - 250}
Abstract. Vertebrates with terrestrial or freshwater ancestors colonized the sea from the Early Triassic onward and became competitively dominant members of many marine ecosystems throughout the Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras. The circumstances that led to initial marine colonization have, however, received little attention. One hypothesis is that mass extinction associated with ecosystem collapse provided opportunities for clades of amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals to enter marine… Expand

Paper Mentions

The ecology of marine colonization by terrestrial arthropods.
  • G. Vermeij
  • Medicine, Biology
  • Arthropod structure & development
  • 2020
It is argued that the insularity and diminished competitiveness of most freshwater ecosystems makes them vulnerable to invasion from land and sea, and largely prevent transitions from freshwater to terrestrial and marine habitats by arthropods. Expand
Ecophysiological steps of marine adaptation in extant and extinct non‐avian tetrapods
Ecophysiological features in extant non-avian marine tetrapods representing 31 marine colonizations are reviewed to test whether there is a common pattern across higher taxonomic groups, such as mammals and reptiles, to reconstruct the evolutionary history of marine adaptation. Expand
Comparative biogeography: innovations and the rise to dominance of the North Pacific biota
  • G. Vermeij
  • Geography, Medicine
  • Proceedings of the Royal Society B
  • 2018
Among temperate marine biotas, the North Pacific has the highest incidence of unique innovations and the earliest origins of major breakthroughs, five of which spread elsewhere. Expand
How the Land Became the Locus of Major Evolutionary Innovations
It is predicted that high-performance metabolic and ecological innovations should predominantly originate on land after the Ordovician once organisms had conquered the challenges of life away from water and later appeared in the sea, either in marine-colonizing clades or by arising separately in clades that never left the sea. Expand
Evidence Supporting Predation of 4-m Marine Reptile by Triassic Megapredator
A fossil is reported that likely represents the oldest evidence for predation on megafauna, i.e., animals equal to or larger than humans, by marine tetrapods—a thalattosaur in the stomach of a Middle Triassic ichthyosaur. Expand
The macroevolutionary landscape of short-necked plesiosaurians
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Eicosanoid biosynthesis in marine mammals
All marine mammals express arachidonic acid 12‐lipoxygenating AlOX15 orthologs, and these data are consistent with the Evolutionary Hypothesis of ALOX15 specificity, which explains their catalytic specificity. Expand
Repeated evolution of durophagy during ichthyosaur radiation after mass extinction indicated by hidden dentition
The well-developed and worn molariform dentition with three tooth rows supports the previous inference that the specimen is not of a juvenile, and a CT scanning revealed that the species indeed had rounded teeth that are nearly perpendicular to the jaw rami, and thus completely concealed in lateral view. Expand
Flipper bone distribution reveals flexible trailing edge in underwater flying marine tetrapods
This study presents a morphological correlate for inferring flipper‐hydrofoil function in extinct taxa and highlights the importance of a flexible trailing edge in the evolution of propulsive flippers in marine tetrapods. Expand
Fingers zipped up or baby mittens? Two main tetrapod strategies to return to the sea
It is found that tetrapods secondarily adapted to the marine environment achieved their return to the sea with four types of morphological changes, which can be grouped into two different main strategies. Expand


Marine tetrapod macroevolution: Physical and biological drivers on 250 Ma of invasions and evolution in ocean ecosystems
Placed in a broad comparative view from the Mesozoic to the Cenozoic eras, the macroevolution of marine tetrapods reveals evolutionary drivers at different scales, along with morphological parallels, unique evolutionary innovations, and the strong influence of historical constraints. Expand
Why are there so few evolutionary transitions between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems
It is shown that transitions among terrestrial, freshwater, and marine environments are infrequent in all major plant and animal clades except tetrapod vertebrates, consistent with contention that evolutionary transitions among physically different environments are most likely when incumbents in the recipient environment exist in a regime of low-intensity competition and predation. Expand
Evolutionary innovation and ecology in marine tetrapods from the Triassic to the Anthropocene
The literature on marine vertebrate groups over time is reviewed and the innovations that facilitated the evolution of these marine forms, the environmental conditions that selected for such convergence of form, and the threats they face from future environment change are described. Expand
Marine invasions by non-sea snakes, with thoughts on terrestrial-aquatic-marine transitions.
  • J. C. Murphy
  • Biology, Medicine
  • Integrative and comparative biology
  • 2012
Few species of snakes show extensive adaptations to aquatic environments and even fewer exploit the oceans. A survey of morphology, lifestyles, and habitats of 2552 alethenophidian snakes revealedExpand
Sea surface temperature contributes to marine crocodylomorph evolution.
Significant correlations obtained between generic diversity and estimated Tethyan SST suggest that water temperature was a driver of marine crocodylomorph diversity. Expand
Dietary controls on extinction versus survival among avian megafauna in the late Pleistocene
The late Pleistocene extinction decimated terrestrial megafaunal communities in North America, but did not affect marine mammal populations. In coastal regions, marine megafauna may have provided aExpand
A review of the fossil seabirds from the Tertiary of the North Pacific: plate tectonics, paleoceanography, and faunal change
Ecologists attempt to explain species diversity within Recent seabird communities in terms of Recent oceanographic and ecological phenomena. However, many of the principal ocean- ographic processesExpand
Extinction and time help drive the marine-terrestrial biodiversity gradient: is the ocean a deathtrap?
Detailed phylogenies of amniote clades, paleontological data and simulations reveal the mechanisms underlying low marine richness, emphasising speciation, extinction and colonisation, and it is shown that differences in diversification rates between habitats are often weak and inconsistent with observed richness patterns. Expand
Uncoupling ecological innovation and speciation in sea snakes (Elapidae, Hydrophiinae, Hydrophiini)
The viviparous sea snakes (Hydrophiini) are by far the most successful living marine reptiles, with ∼60 species that comprise a prominent component of shallow‐water marine ecosystems throughout theExpand
The rise of ocean giants: maximum body size in Cenozoic marine mammals as an indicator for productivity in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans
This work investigated how the maximum body size of Cenozoic marine mammals, in two feeding guilds, evolved over comparable temporal and geographical scales and found that both vertebrate guilds achieved very large size only recently, suggesting that different trophic mechanisms promoting gigantism in the oceans have operated in the Cenogene than in previous eras. Expand