© 2020 The Authors. Evolution © 2020 The Society for the Study of Evolution. Cave adaptation has evolved repeatedly across the Tree of Life, famously leading to pigmentation and eye degeneration and loss, yet its macroevolutionary implications remain poorly understood. We use the North American amblyopsid fishes, a family spanning a wide degree of cave adaptation, to examine the impact of cave specialization on the modes and tempo of evolution. We reconstruct evolutionary relationships using ultraconserved element loci, estimate the ancestral histories of eye-state, and examine the impact of cave adaptation on body shape evolution. Our phylogenomic analyses provide a well-supported hypothesis for amblyopsid evolutionary relationships. The obligate blind cavefishes form a clade and the cave-facultative eyed spring cavefishes are nested within the obligate cavefishes. Using ancestral state reconstruction, we find support for at least two independent subterranean colonization events within the Amblyopsidae. Eyed and blind fishes have different body shapes, but not different rates of body shape evolution. North American amblyopsids highlight the complex nature of cave-adaptive evolution and the necessity to include multiple lines of evidence to uncover the underlying processes involved in the loss of complex traits.
Publication Source (Journal or Book title)
Hart, P., Niemiller, M., Burress, E., Armbruster, J., Ludt, W., & Chakrabarty, P. (2020). Cave-adapted evolution in the North American amblyopsid fishes inferred using phylogenomics and geometric morphometrics. Evolution, 74 (5), 936-949. https://doi.org/10.1111/evo.13958