Culminating Project Title
Date of Award
Culminating Project Type
Biological Sciences - Ecology and Natural Resources: M.S.
College of Science and Engineering
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Keywords and Subject Headings
Aulopiformes, Lizardfishes, Biogeography
Aulopiformes are a lineage of marine ray-finned fishes with 17 extant families and approximately 250 species. They are distributed worldwide in a variety of marine habitats, from coral reefs to the deep sea. In chapter 1 of this thesis, I will explore the major biogeographic patterns within current biodiversity of the order Aulopiformes. I used GIS software in combination with locality information of museum specimens from the database GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility) to create distribution maps of aulopiform biodiversity for every species within each family and subfamily with significant numbers of occurrence data. Each map contains locality information in the form of geographic points for every species of Aulopiformes that was available through GBIF. These maps were then compared to major biogeographic realms based on biodiversity endemicity within the oceans of the world and evaluated significant biogeographic patterns. Overall, Aulopiformes occupy 4 of the 5 major pelagic realms and 27 of 30 of the benthic/coastal realms among the wolrd’s oceans. Aulopiform species that are pelagic for both larval and adult life stages have wider distributions than those who are benthic or coastal in any life stage. Pelagic Aulopiformes also have migrated into cooler oceans toward the North and South Poles while benthic/coastal Aulopiformes typically are restricted to warmer central waters near the equator. In chapter 2, a statistical ancestral area reconstruction analysis was performed in combination with a time-calibrated hypothesis of the evolutionary history of Aulopiformes to further explore aulopiform biogeographic patterns through time. The results of this thesis conclude that aulopiform fishes most likely originated within the Tethys Sea around 140 million years ago. They most likely lived in a warm climate and began migrating to cooler waters around 65 million years ago.
Lanam, Michelle, "Biogeography of Lizardfishes and their allies (Teleostei: Aulopiformes)" (2022). Culminating Projects in Biology. 58.
Available for download on Friday, August 11, 2023