Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Reef fish arrived in two waves, before and after mass extinction 66 million years ago

Date:
April 10, 2014
Source:
University of California - Davis
Summary:
The world's reefs are hotbeds of biological diversity, including over 4,500 species of fish. A new study shows that the ancestors of these fish colonized reefs in two distinct waves, before and after the mass extinction event about 66 million years ago that wiped out the dinosaurs.

Researchers traced reef fish ancestry by developing a comprehensive family tree of the major group of modern ocean fish.
Credit: Mexrix / Fotolia

The world's reefs are hotbeds of biological diversity, including over 4,500 species of fish. A new study shows that the ancestors of these fish colonized reefs in two distinct waves, before and after the mass extinction event about 66 million years ago that wiped out the dinosaurs.

Reef fish represent one of the largest and most diverse assemblages of vertebrates, according to Samantha Price, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Evolution and Ecology at UC Davis. Price is first author on a paper describing the work, published April 2 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

The fossil record of reef fish is patchy, so Price and colleagues traced their ancestry by developing a comprehensive family tree of the major group of modern ocean fish, the acanthomorphs or "spiny-finned fish," and calculating the times when different groups migrated into or out of reef habitats.

The first wave of colonization occurred between 70 and 90 million years ago, before the end of the Cretaceous period, they found. At that time, most the world's reefs were built not by coral but by mollusks called rudists.

Rudists disappeared in the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous, 66 million years ago, and corals became the world's great reef builders. While the first-wave reef fish hung on to leave descendants in the present, a second wave of colonization took place as the world recovered from the extinction event.

The early wave of colonization began with lots of different-looking fish and over time there was an eventual filling of ecological niches accompanied by a decrease in colonization, Price said.

By about 50 million years ago, the fundamentals of modern coral reefs, including the ancestors of most major families, such as clownfishes and parrotfishes, were in place, Price said.

"If you were able to dive on a coral reef 50 million years ago, the fishes would seem familiar, you would recognize it as similar to a modern reef," she said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Davis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. A. Price, L. Schmitz, C. E. Oufiero, R. I. Eytan, A. Dornburg, W. L. Smith, M. Friedman, T. J. Near, P. C. Wainwright. Two waves of colonization straddling the K-Pg boundary formed the modern reef fish fauna. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2014; 281 (1783): 20140321 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2014.0321

Cite This Page:

University of California - Davis. "Reef fish arrived in two waves, before and after mass extinction 66 million years ago." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140410095645.htm>.
University of California - Davis. (2014, April 10). Reef fish arrived in two waves, before and after mass extinction 66 million years ago. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140410095645.htm
University of California - Davis. "Reef fish arrived in two waves, before and after mass extinction 66 million years ago." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140410095645.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Peace Corps is one of several U.S.-based organizations to pull workers out of West Africa because of the Ebola outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins