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Unravelling the scenario of early vertebrate evolution through computational analysis of the fossil record

Descrizione del progetto

Spiegare l’evoluzione del piano corporeo dei vertebrati

I primi vertebrati hanno fatto molta strada in termini di piano corporeo. Le maggiori transizioni sono state correlate con tendenze ecologiche a lungo termine che andavano dall’alimentazione per filtrazione a stili di vita sempre più attivi, ma l’origine del piano corporeo dei vertebrati è tuttora oggetto di dibattito tra biologi e paleontologi. Con l’obiettivo di chiarire gli scenari ecologici in cui sono comparsi i principali gruppi di vertebrati, il progetto EarlyVertEvo, finanziato dall’UE, applicherà nuove tecniche nel campo della paleobiologia per studiare fossili di stem gnatostomi. A tal fine si avvarrà di varie tecniche, tra cui morfometria geometrica, tecnologie basate sulla superficie di scansione, tomografia computerizzata a raggi X non distruttiva, simulazioni di dinamica dei fluidi computazionale, esperimenti idrodinamici fisici e diversi metodi per l’analisi macroevolutiva.

Obiettivo

Debate over the origin of vertebrate bodyplan has occupied biologists and palaeontologists alike for centuries but discussions around this topic have been hindered because living vertebrates are unrepresentative of the ancestral lineages in which the bodyplan was established. Major transitions in early vertebrate evolution have been correlated with a long-term ecological trend from suspension feeding towards increasingly active lifestyles. However, most previous morpho-functional interpretations largely rely on speculation and these ecological explanations of evolutionary events have generally been regarded as untestable as theories. The recent emergence of new virtual techniques in palaeobiology provides for the first time the opportunity to perform rigorous computational and physical examination to test these hypotheses. In this context, the overall aim of my research programme is the joint application of an array of state-of-the-art techniques in palaeobiology to fossil stem-gnathostomes in order to elucidate the ecological scenarios in which the major groups of vertebrates emerged and to shed light onto the underlying selective forces that drove the main evolutionary transitions of the group. For this, the whole morphological diversity and disparity of early vertebrates will be analysed from a functional, temporal and phylogenetic perspective, using Geometric Morphometrics, scanning surface-based technologies, non-destructive X-ray computed tomography, Computational Fluid Dynamic simulations, physical hydrodynamic experiments and several methods for macroevolutionary analysis. This research programme will allow me to establish myself as a world-class independent interdisciplinary researcher by providing a portfolio of high profile publications in international peer-reviewed journals, a world-class suite of interdisciplinary skills, and a world class research programme that will allow me to establish myself as an authority in the field.

Meccanismo di finanziamento

MSCA-IF-EF-ST - Standard EF

Coordinatore

UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL
Contribution nette de l'UE
€ 212 933,76
Indirizzo
BEACON HOUSE QUEENS ROAD
BS8 1QU Bristol
Regno Unito

Mostra sulla mappa

Regione
South West (England) Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Bristol/Bath area Bristol, City of
Tipo di attività
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Collegamenti
Costo totale
€ 212 933,76