Antarctic Fish Biology. Evolution in a Unique Environment by Joseph T. Eastman

By Joseph T. Eastman

This crucial quantity presents an unique synthesis and novel evaluate of Antarctic fish biology, detailing the evolution of those fish in one of the most strange and severe environments on the planet. targeting one team of fish, the notothenoioids, which include the vast majority of the present organismal range, this ebook describes a fauna that has developed in isolation and skilled extraordinary adaptive radiation by means of buying a number of physiological specializations. Darwin's finches and African cichlids should be joined through Antarctic fishes as exemplars of adaptive radiation.
The books' assurance is specified and accomplished, and the writer in actual fact acknowledges the truth that those fish are an element of a best and biologically precise surroundings and atmosphere. subject matters in Antarctic Fish Biology comprise earlier and current environments, fossil documents, taxonomic composition of fauna, systematic relationships, diversification, and physiological diversifications

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Composition *%g9 J The Antarctic fish fauna is smaller and less diverse than ^ F might be expected given the considerable age and large area of the ecosystem. Conservatively estimated, 21,723 species of fishes from 445 fami­ lies (Nelson, 1984) inhabit the waters of the earth—slightly over 1% of these species occur in the Antarctic Region. 1, the Antarctic fish fauna includes 274 species from 49 families. 7%), the perciform suborder Notothenioidei is the major component of the fauna. The recent discovery of new non-notothenioid species, as well as the inclusion of records from the periph­ eral part of the region, has reduced the numerical dominance of notothenioids since the faunal summaries of Andriashev (1965) and DeWitt (1971).

From Eastman (1991b) with permission of Springer-Verlag. 590 PERIOD ERA 28 3 The Fossil Fish Faunas including \Mcmurdodus and \Antarctilamna\ four taxa of acanthodians (\Gyracanthides, ïAntarctonchus, fByssacanthoides, and \Culmacanthus)\ and various osteichthyans (lungfishes, rhipidistian crossopterygians, and palaeoniscoid actinopterygians). He found that the remains of placoderms were more nu­ merous and diverse than those of any other fish group in the Aztec fauna. Especially common were the antiarch \Bothriolepis and the arthrodire jGroenlandaspis, with species of \Bothriolepis accounting for about one-third of the taxonomic diversity in the fauna.

The modern fauna is dominated by notothenioids, an endemic perciform group without a known fossil record. VI. Evolutionary Questions Relating to Fossil Fishes This chapter concludes by considering the contribution of the Antarctic fossil record to the resolution of some important evolutionary questions. In most cases our understanding of the fish faunas is sketchy, and gaps in the fossil record are wide. Nevertheless it is a useful exercise for assessing the state of our knowledge and for placing it in a broad perspective.

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