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A global-scale analysis of local-scale bat morphospace assembly

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posted on 2022-10-17, 23:19 authored by Thomas Peachey

Ecologists have long debated whether environmental variables shape the morphological structure of communities or whether communities simply reflect the evolutionary history of a region. An ecomorphological approach is used here to test these hypotheses based on the cranial morphospaces of 73 bat assemblages from the Old and New Worlds. The results echo those of previous literature by demonstrating strong coupling between chiropteran ecology and skull shape. Several regional ‘syndromes’, i.e. stereotypical assemblage compositions, characterize the Neotropics, Indomalaya, and Australasia. Two other syndromes lack affiliation with specific regions, one of which features sparse morphospaces and the other of which is defined by the dominance of pteropodid bats. Sparse morphospaces are present in localities with strong dry seasons, suggesting dispersed draws from morphologically diverse pools. Variation between Afrotropic assemblages was high, which may suggest microhabitat filtering.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- Materials and methods -- Results -- Discussion -- Conclusion -- References -- Supplementary material -- Appendix


Submitted: 5 March 2021 as part of the requirements for completion of the degree of Master of Research

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


Thesis (MRes), Macquarie University, Faculty of Science and Engineering, 2021

Department, Centre or School

Department of Biological Sciences

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

John Alroy


Copyright: Thomas Peachey Copyright disclaimer:




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