Developmental bridges between micro- and macroevolution in the highly diverse Lacertid lizards

March 22nd, from 12:30 to 13:30 in Askja N-131.

By Quentin Horta-Lacueva, post-doctoral fellow at Lund University.


While dating back to the Darwinian revolution, the importance of microevolutionary processes in macroevolution are yet unresolved. In the vertebrate skull, a bridge between micro- and macroevolution may reside in the higher evolvability of particular bones originating from specific cells: the neural crest cells. I am exploring this idea by studying skull diversity in Lacertid Lizards, a family with more than 300 species occupying a wide variety of niches across Eurasia and Africa. I will present how I am testing the hypothesis that neural crest cells drive both micro- and macroevolution in lacertid by using X-ray microtomography (CT scanning) of the skull of museum specimens. At the microevolutionary scale, I focus on populations of Common wall lizards, Podarcis muralis, showing extreme variations in head morphology. At the macroevolutionary scale, I compare skull shape across more than 150 lacertid species. Concordant patterns of variability between the P. muralis populations and the entire lacertid family should reveal if and how the neural crest biology underlies the integration of micro- and macroevolutionary processes.


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