Masters of miniaturization: Convergent evolution among interstitial eukaryotes
|Title||Masters of miniaturization: Convergent evolution among interstitial eukaryotes|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2010|
|Authors||Rundell, R. J., & Leander B. S.|
|Pagination||430 - 437|
Marine interstitial environments are teeming with an extraordinary diversity of coexisting microeukaryotic lineages collectively called ‘‘meiofauna.’’ Interstitial habitats are broadly distributed across the planet, and the complex physical features of these environments have persisted, much like they exist today, throughout the history of eukaryotes, if not longer. Although our general understanding of the biological diversity in these environments is relatively poor, compelling examples of developmental heterochrony (e.g., pedomorphosis) and convergent evolution appear to be widespread among meiofauna. Therefore, an improved understanding of meiofaunal biodiversity is expected to provide some of the deepest insights into the following themes in evolutionary biology: (i) the origins of novel body plans, (ii) macroevolutionary patterns of miniaturization, and (iii) the intersection of evolution and community assembly – e.g., ‘‘community convergence’’ involving distantly related lineages that span the tree of eukaryotes.