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Santa Cruz, CA

Vikram Baliga, PhD Candidate at UC Santa Cruz, member of the Mehta Lab. Areas of study: ecology, ontogeny, morphometrics, and comparative methods.

Blog

New Publication: Phylogenetics and evolutionary patterns of cleaning behavior within wrasses

Vikram Baliga

I am quite pleased to share that a recent manuscript I submitted to Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution has been accepted and is now "In Press".

The paper, entitled "Cleaners among wrasses: Phylogenetics and evolutionary patterns of cleaning behavior within Labridae", is a product of collaboration with my academic brother, Chris Law.

We first inferred phylogenetic relationships between 320 species of labrids (a group that comprises wrasses, parrotfishes, and a lesser-known group called the weed whitings), using maximum likelihood and Bayesian approaches. There are ~631 nominal species of labrids total and our findings build on previous efforts to document relationships between species. Ours is the first study to push beyond the half-way mark of species coverage (50.7% to be exact), though we'll see how long that distinction lasts...

A heavily downsampled and simplified version of one of the figures in the paper. Here, we show the maximum clade credibility tree from our Bayesian analyses. The colors show a single (but pretty representative) reconstruction of cleaning evolution: orange is juvenile cleaning, green is facultative cleaning, and purple is obligate cleaning. Non-cleaning is in grey. Modified from Figure 3 in Baliga and Law (2015).

A heavily downsampled and simplified version of one of the figures in the paper. Here, we show the maximum clade credibility tree from our Bayesian analyses. The colors show a single (but pretty representative) reconstruction of cleaning evolution: orange is juvenile cleaning, green is facultative cleaning, and purple is obligate cleaning. Non-cleaning is in grey. Modified from Figure 3 in Baliga and Law (2015).

Another simplified version of one of the paper's figures. This is a conceptual diagram that illustrates how changes in state played out over our stochastic character mappings. The width of each line is approximately proportional to how frequent the state change occurred across all of our simulations. It's a pretty lopsided set of patterns. Modified from Figure 4 of Baliga and Law (2015).

Another simplified version of one of the paper's figures. This is a conceptual diagram that illustrates how changes in state played out over our stochastic character mappings. The width of each line is approximately proportional to how frequent the state change occurred across all of our simulations. It's a pretty lopsided set of patterns. Modified from Figure 4 of Baliga and Law (2015).

All extant species were assigned to one of the following categories: juvenile cleaners (those that clean predominately or exclusively as juveniles), facultative cleaners (those that clean throughout ontogeny as non-specialists), obligate cleaners (those that rely almost exclusively on cleaning throughout ontogeny), or non-cleaners (those that are not documented to clean). We then employed a technique known as stochastic character mapping to infer the history of cleaning behavior over our trees.

This allowed us to infer when & how cleaning may have evolved within the Labridae. We found that it's all pretty recent, and the process is quite lopsided.

I won't give away more about the paper, as I hope you'll read it! The article is now available in manuscript format, and does not incorporate a few small changes I made during the proofing process. I am not sure when the final version will be available -- hopefully soon!

Since the paper is "In Press", the supplementary materials (including two phylogenetic trees) are not yet available. If you are interested in obtaining the trees, please feel free to contact me directly.