2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 163-7
Presentation Time: 3:05 PM


HUNT, Gene, Department of Paleobiology, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, NHB MRC 121, P.O. Box 37012, Washington, DC 20013-7012, PUCKETT, T. Markham, Physics and Earth Science, University of North Alabama, P.O. Box 5130, 1 Harrison Plaza, Florence, AL 35632-0001, FERNANDES MARTINS, Maria João, Department of Paleobiology, Smithsonian Institution, NMNH, Smithsonian Institution [NHB, MRC 121], PO Box 37012, Washington, DC 20113-7012, HALL, Christine M.S., Department of Earth Sciences, University of California, Riverside, 900 University Ave, Riverside, CA 92521, LOCKWOOD, Rowan, Department of Geology, The College of William and Mary, P.O. Box 8795, Williamsburg, VA 23187 and SWADDLE, John P., Department of Biology, The College of William and Mary, PO Box 8795, Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795, hunte@si.edu

Numerous studies of extant taxa test whether sexual selection influences rates of macroevolution. These studies must use indirect proxies for the origination and extinction of lineages but the fossil record may allow for more direct testing, provided that the focal taxon has sexually dimorphic hard parts. Cytheroidean ostracodes are one such taxon: in extant members of this order, male valves are elongate relative to those of females, a shape difference presumed to relate to the large copulatory apparatus of males. Here we report the initial results of a investigation using the fossil record of Late Cretaceous ostracodes from the US Gulf Coastal Plain, with a focus on (1) developing a protocol for reliably measuring dimorphism; (2) documenting the patterns of dimorphism in the focal ostracode fauna; and (3) analyzing the stability of sexual dimorphism as a species-level trait.

We digitized the valve outlines of adult specimens and computed area as a measure of body size. Each outline was approximated as an ellipse, and the ratio of the major to minor axes was used as a measure of valve elongation. Likelihood-based mixture models were used to identify male and female clusters in size-shape space and differences between the inferred sexes were used as estimates of the magnitudes of size and shape dimorphism. In nearly all samples with adequate sample size, we find evidence for two clusters consistent with sex differences. Thus far, we have measured nearly 5,000 ostracodes to produce 109 population-level estimates of dimorphism for 77 species and 33 genera.

Populations vary greatly in the strength of size and shape dimorphism. Males are more elongate than females by as little as 2% or as much as 20%. Males are usually the larger sex but can range from 15% smaller to 30% larger than females. Magnitudes of size and shape dimorphism are not correlated, and neither is related to body size, suggesting that dimorphism differences are not simply a manifestation of selection for body size. Estimates of dimorphism are quite stable within species, mostly similar among congeners, but not very conserved at the family level. Thus, although they are subject to evolutionary divergence, the sexual selection regimes that underpin sex differences can be stable enough to be treated as species-level traits for macroevolutionary analysis.