Meeting Abstract

22.8  Wednesday, Jan. 4  Rates of Trophic Evolution in Lake Malawi Cichlid Fishes HULSEY , C.D.; Univ. of Tennessee

The cichlid fishes of Lake Malawi may represent the most rapidly diverging adaptive radiation of vertebrates on earth. The mbuna, or rock-dwelling, Lake Malawi cichlids are the most species rich component of the Lake Malawi radiation. Using a novel phylogeny constructed from SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms), I recontruct the phylogeny of 40 members of the Lake Malawi Cichlid Flock. Then, I test whether 10 trophic characters show enhanced rates of evolution in the mbuna as compared to the remainder of the Lake Malawi species. Finally, using a new method of estimating phenotypic rates, I examine if the single fastest rate of evolution of single traits for the entire flock is nested within the mbuna. These results should shed light on whether the mbuna have experienced the most rapid rate of trophic evolution within the Lake Malawi cichlid radiation