Day 2 of talks in the 2009 Anolis Symposium hosted by the Museum of Comparative Zoology is drawing to a close this afternoon with some of the final scheduled talks of the meeting by Jonathan Losos, pictured right (upper panel); and by Dechronization blogger-in-chief Rich Glor (lower panel). This meeting has featured a large number of great talks, but I only have time & space to comment on a few here. In the morning session, we saw a whole series of presentations on invasive anoles (a "mini-symposium," to steal Jason Kolbe's words), including a great talk by Todd Campbell on the natural history and ecological interactions of the 6 introduced anoles found in the Miami area of South Florida; and some cool preliminary results from Kolbe suggesting adaptation in thermal tolerance in northern vs. southern populations of introduced Anolis sagrei in Florida. We also saw several talks on the evolution and genetics of development in Anolis, including a genuinely fascinating study (and I'm not usually fascinated by such studies, so this is no small compliment) by Doug Menke showing the association of a deletion in the Tbx4 hindlimb enhancer and "short-limbedness" among anole species. To my knowledge, this is the first study to potentially identify a explicit genetic variant responsible for the quantitative difference in limb lengths among anoles. This afternoon we heard from Joel McGlothlin, a post-doc with Butch Brodie at the University of Virginia, who presented results showing that genetic constraint in the form of the G-matrix is quite conserved among anole species; and from Luke Mahler, a present Losos graduate student, who is examining the relationship between niche availability and the rate of phenotypic evolution in Caribbean Anolis. If recent history can be used as a guide, there should be only 3653 days (and counting) until the next edition of the Anolis symposium. . . . I'll be there!
Dechronization is authored by evolutionary biologists interested in the development and application of methods for estimating phylogeny and making phylogeny-based inferences. The goal of the blog is to provide a forum for discussion of the latest research and methods, while also providing anecdotes, tidbits of natural history, and other related information.