Functional morphology meets macroecology: Size and shape distributions of New World bats

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Abstract

Questions: What is the distribution of sizes of bats when estimated from multivariate analyses conducted on a number of morphological characteristics? Can shapes generated from such analyses inform our understanding of macroecology, in particular how phenotypic characteristics in general vary in nature? Do species-rich functional groups of bats exhibit similar size and shape distributions? Quantitative methods: Principal components analysis imposed on seven morphometric characteristics. Kolmogorov-Smirnov and bootstrap analyses to determine differences among phenotypic distributions. Organisms: New World bats. Conclusions: All distributions were modal, skewed and deviated significantly from the log-normal. Significant differences regarding central tendency of functional groups existed on all phenotypic axes. Functional groups exhibited similar size distributions based on skew and kurtosis, but significantly differed on the log-mass and shape axes. Although similarities in the unimodal and skewed nature of phenotypic distributions suggest universal properties governing the diversification of organisms through space and time, quantitative differences among distributions highlight unique aspects of the evolution of particular phenotypic attributes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)837-851
Number of pages15
JournalEvolutionary Ecology Research
Volume7
Issue number6
StatePublished - Oct 2005

Keywords

  • Body-size distribution
  • Functional morphology
  • Morphometrics
  • Principal components analysis
  • Shape distribution
  • Size-shape decomposition

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