The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type




Degree Name

Biological Sciences - Ecology and Natural Resources: M.S.




College of Science and Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Matthew Davis

Second Advisor

Dr. Sarah Gibson

Third Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Lamb

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Stromateoidei, the Butterfishes and their allies, are a suborder of marine fishes renowned for their diverse morphological specializations and life history adaptations where many of the taxa have symbiotic relationships with aquatic invertebrates. The hypothesized evolutionary relationships differ greatly amongst previous studies conducted with either morphological or molecular data. All six families—Centrolophidae, Stromateidae, Nomeidae, Ariommatidae, Amarsipidae, and Tetragonuridae—are known to engage in a symbiotic relationship with aquatic invertebrates. To estimate a novel hypothesis of evolutionary relationships of Stromateoidei, nuclear genome-scale ultraconserved element data was used to determine intrarelationships within this group. This resulted in a clade of four of the original families—Centrolophidae, Stromateidae, Nomeidae, and Ariommatidae—with the remaining two, Amarsipidae and Tetragonuridae, being the sister-group to Chiasmodontidae, the deep-sea swallower fishes within the Scombriformes. Using the evolutionary framework from Chapter 1, the ancestral character evolution of symbiosis with invertebrates was inferred, which identified three separate evolutions of symbiosis with Cnidarians within the Scombriformes, and once within the common ancestor of Stromateoidei (sensu this study which is restricted to Centrolophidae, Stromateidae, Nomeidae, and Ariommatidae). Symbiosis with Tunicates evolved once in a common ancestor of Tetragonuridae and Amarsipidae clade and within some specific species of Stromateoidei.


Thank you to Dr. Davis, my advisor, and my other committee members, Dr. Gibson and Dr. Lamb, for their support and guidance.



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