in The Ecology of Marine Fishes

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2006 | ISBN: 9780520246539
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520932470 | DOI:

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Attempts to understand determinants of species composition in animal communities generally have been limited to current influences on existing communities. Evolutionary history is routinely ignored, often because key issues can be examined only by inference. But based on studies with marine communities in California, this chapter holds that major determinants of species structure lie in evolutionary processes that greatly transcend the current scene. Most California coastal fishes are teleosts of the superorder Acanthopterygii which are characterized by skeletons of bone and fins supported by spines. This group includes the vast majority of modern fishes other than sharks and rays. Visual assessments of fish communities near the California coast invariably find more than 95% of the fishes—representing the percomorph orders Perciformes, Scorpaeniformes, or Pleuronectiformes. To understand the nature and basis of their dominance, this chapter considers certain features of teleost history.

Keywords: species composition; animal communities; California; marine communities; teleost history

Chapter.  20998 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Aquatic Biology

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