Meeting Abstract

101.1  Saturday, Jan. 7  Phylogenetic clustering of commercially exploited fish species CHANG, J*; ROY, K; EASTMAN, JM; SMITH, SA; SANTINI, F; BAUM, JK; HASTINGS, PA; SIDLAUSKAS, BL; ALFARO, ME; Univ. of California, Los Angeles; Univ. of California, San Diego; Univ. of Idaho, Moscow; Brown Univ., Providence, RI; Univ. of California, Los Angeles; Univ. of California, San Diego; Univ. of California, San Diego; Oregon State University, Corvallis; Univ. of California, Los Angeles jchang641@ucla.edu

Currently, over three-quarters of the world's fish stocks are depleted, overexploited, or fully exploited. Typical marine fishing practices tend to target the largest species in the food web, which alters life history traits, such as age to maturity, and increases risk of extinction. Although the short-term evolutionary effects on exploited species are well-documented, exploitation pressures across the fish tree of life have not been systematically assessed. We collected exploitation data from Fishbase.org for 7,159 ray-finned fishes on a megaphylogeny of containing 7,958 species and use community phylogenetic measures to determine clustering patterns across the tree. Here we show that commercial fishing is overdispersed at both broad and shallow phylogenetic scales, indicating that exploitation targets lineages in a manner that maximizes the potential loss in biodiversity. As a second measure of the threat posed to clade biodiversity, we calculated rates of body size evolution across the megaphylogeny. We found that exploited lineages exhibit significantly faster rates of body size evolution, suggesting that the species that we tend to eat are also those whose evolutionary history is exceptionally unique. Together these results suggest that humans are preferentially eating away at the richest branches on the fish tree of life.