SICB 2015: Convergence in Body Shape among Squamates

P. Bergmann

Patterns of Convergence in the Body Shape of Squamate Reptiles

SICB 2015 is off and running and what better way to kick it of than with a lizard talk? Phillip Bergmann of Clark University filled the 8:15 time slot on day one with an intriguing evaluation of broad-scale body shape convergence among squamates. This is a perennial topic on Anole Annals due to the well-studied patterns of convergence among Anolis lizards and, indeed, Dr. Bergmann highlighted anoles early in his talk. He asked whether common functional (ecological) situations lead to body shape convergence at large scales. Rather than search for global patterns of convergence, Dr. Bermann used hypotheses specific to the transformations that occur when lineages transitioned into new habitats. As he pointed out, it is not surprising to find convergence in body shape occurring throughout squamate – after all, convergence is ubiquitous across the tree of life. He concluded his talk highlighting what he feels are some of the most pressing “Big Questions” regarding convergence which included the methods we use to detect convergence, the role of constraints in shaping convergence, and elucidating the mechanisms underlying convergence. Ultimately it was a thought-provoking talk both from the perspective of squamate organismal diversity and the topic of convergence more broadly.

About Thomas Sanger

Thom Sanger is an Assistant Professor at Loyola University in Chicago. His lab specializes on understanding the developmental bases of Anolis lizard diversity.

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