"Contrasting adaptive and non-adaptive radiations .. (CANARIP-RAT)
"Contrasting adaptive and non-adaptive radiations in Indo-Pacific ""rats"": testing alternative evolutionary models for a hyperdiverse region"
Start date: Sep 1, 2013,
End date: Aug 31, 2016
"Over the last 25 million years, the Indo-Pacific ""rats"" have undergone an explosive radiation. Their diversification has resulted in taxa with (i) a wide (putatively adaptive) and (ii) narrow (putatively non-adaptive) range of morphological disparity with or without clear ecological divergence. Adaptive and non-adaptive radiations have been replicated in three Indo-Pacific archipelagos (Philippines, Sulawesi, Papua-New Guinea), making these rodents a highly informative, yet largely unexplored evolutionary model. This evolutionary and ecological project will constitute a unique opportunity to understand the evolution of mammalian morphology in an island model as well as to understand the link between form, function, diversification patterns, and ecological divergence. This research will provide three main contributions relative to the emergence of ecomorphological diversity during both adaptive and non-adaptive radiations: (1) building an unique ecomorphological dataset for Indo-Pacific ""rats"" to investigate the evolution of form in our model system and exploring the link between functional morphology and ecological divergence, (2) using phylogenetic and ecomorphological frameworks to track variation in the diversification rate and in the rate of morphological evolution of species with different ecologies, and (3) simultaneously using ecomorphological, phylogenetic and macroecological datasets to understand community assembly during adaptive and non-adaptive radiations. Harvard University and Ecole Polytechnique has a great tradition of using large datasets to answer questions pertaining to patterns of evolution and ecology. Thus, the combination of a well sampled molecular and morphological framework including more than 300 “rats”, and both institutions with a history of using advanced bioinformatic and statistical methods to address evolutionary questions, should provide an ideal environment for advancing the understanding of adaptive and non adaptive-radiation."
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