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Quantitative Genetics of Bryozoan Phenotypic Evolution. II. Analysis of Selection and Random change in Fossil Species Using Reconstructed Genetic Parameters

Alan H. Cheetham, Jeremy B. C. Jackson and Lee-Ann C. Hayek
Evolution
Vol. 48, No. 2 (Apr., 1994), pp. 360-375
DOI: 10.2307/2410098
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2410098
Page Count: 16
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Quantitative Genetics of Bryozoan Phenotypic Evolution. II. Analysis of Selection and Random change in Fossil Species Using Reconstructed Genetic Parameters
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Abstract

The roles of natural selection and random genetic change in the punctuated phenotypic evolution of eight Miocene-Pliocene tropical American species of the cheilostome bryozoan Metrarabdotos are analyzed by quantitative genetic methods. Trait heritabilities and genetic covariances reconstructed by partitioning within- and among-colony phenotypic variance are similar to those previously obtained for living species of the cheilostome Stylopoma using breeding data. The hypothesis that differences in skeletal morphology between species of Metrarabdotos are entirely due to mutation and genetic drift cannot be rejected for reasonable rates of mutation maintained for periods brief enough to account for the geologically abrupt appearances of these species in the fossil record. Except for one pair of species, separated by the largest morphologic distance, directional selection acting alone would require unrealistically high rates of selective mortality to be maintained for these periods. Thus, directional selection is not strongly implicated in the divergence of Metrarabdotos species. Within species, rates of net phenotypic change are slow enough to require stabilizing selection, but mask large, relatively rapid fluctuations, all of which, however, can be attributed to chance departures from the mean phenotype by mutation and genetic drift, rather than to tracking environmental fluctuation by directional selection. The results are consistent with genetic models involving shifts between multiple adaptive peaks on which phenotypes remain more or less static through long-term stabilizing selection. Regardless of the degree to which directional selection may be involved in peak shifts, phenotypic differentiation is thus related to processes different than the pervasive stabilizing selection acting within species.

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