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Are shark teeth proxies for functional traits? A framework to infer ecology from the fossil record

JACK COOPER, John Griffin Orcid Logo, René Kindlimann, Catalina Pimiento Orcid Logo

Journal of Fish Biology

Swansea University Authors: JACK COOPER, John Griffin Orcid Logo, Catalina Pimiento Orcid Logo

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DOI (Published version): 10.1111/jfb.15326

Abstract

Modern sharks have an evolutionary history of at least 250 million years and are known to play key roles in marine systems, from controlling prey populations, to connecting habitats across oceans. These ecological roles can be quantified based on their functional traits, which are typically morpholo...

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Published in: Journal of Fish Biology
ISSN: 0022-1112 1095-8649
Published: Wiley 2023
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URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa62445
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A framework to infer ecology from the fossil record</title><swanseaauthors><author><sid>5bee81f19e912ca8068a4e96add6466f</sid><firstname>JACK</firstname><surname>COOPER</surname><name>JACK COOPER</name><active>true</active><ethesisStudent>false</ethesisStudent></author><author><sid>9814fbffa76dd9c9a207166354cd0b2f</sid><ORCID>0000-0003-3295-6480</ORCID><firstname>John</firstname><surname>Griffin</surname><name>John Griffin</name><active>true</active><ethesisStudent>false</ethesisStudent></author><author><sid>7dd222e2a1d5971b3f3963f0501a9d4f</sid><ORCID>0000-0002-5320-7246</ORCID><firstname>Catalina</firstname><surname>Pimiento</surname><name>Catalina Pimiento</name><active>true</active><ethesisStudent>false</ethesisStudent></author></swanseaauthors><date>2023-01-25</date><abstract>Modern sharks have an evolutionary history of at least 250 million years and are known to play key roles in marine systems, from controlling prey populations, to connecting habitats across oceans. These ecological roles can be quantified based on their functional traits, which are typically morphological (e.g., body size) or behavioural (e.g., feeding and diet). However, our understanding of such roles of extinct sharks is limited by the inherent incompleteness of their fossil record, which consists mainly of isolated teeth. As such, establishing links between tooth morphology and ecological traits in living sharks could provide a useful framework to infer sharks’ ecology from the fossil record. Here, based on extant sharks from which morphological and behavioural characteristics are known, we assess the extent to which isolated teeth can serve as proxies for functional traits. To do so, we first review the scientific literature on extant species to evaluate the use of shark dental characters as proxies for ecology to then perform validation analyses based on an independent dataset collected from museum collections. Our results reveal that 12 dental characters have been used in the shark literature as proxies for three functional traits: body size, prey preference and feeding mechanism. From all dental characters identified, tooth size and cutting edge are the most widely used. Validation analyses suggest that seven dental characters – crown height, crown width, cutting edge, lateral cusplets, curvature, longitudinal outline and cross-section outline – are the best proxies for the three functional traits. Specifically, tooth size (crown height and width) was found to be a reliable proxy of all three traits; the presence of serrations on the cutting edge was one of the best proxies for prey preference; and tooth shape (longitudinal outline) and the presence of lateral cusplets were among the best indicators of feeding mechanism. Taken together, our results suggest that in the absence of directly measurable traits in the fossil record, these seven dental characters (and different combinations of them) can be used to quantify the ecological roles of extinct sharks. 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spelling v2 62445 2023-01-25 Are shark teeth proxies for functional traits? A framework to infer ecology from the fossil record 5bee81f19e912ca8068a4e96add6466f JACK COOPER JACK COOPER true false 9814fbffa76dd9c9a207166354cd0b2f 0000-0003-3295-6480 John Griffin John Griffin true false 7dd222e2a1d5971b3f3963f0501a9d4f 0000-0002-5320-7246 Catalina Pimiento Catalina Pimiento true false 2023-01-25 Modern sharks have an evolutionary history of at least 250 million years and are known to play key roles in marine systems, from controlling prey populations, to connecting habitats across oceans. These ecological roles can be quantified based on their functional traits, which are typically morphological (e.g., body size) or behavioural (e.g., feeding and diet). However, our understanding of such roles of extinct sharks is limited by the inherent incompleteness of their fossil record, which consists mainly of isolated teeth. As such, establishing links between tooth morphology and ecological traits in living sharks could provide a useful framework to infer sharks’ ecology from the fossil record. Here, based on extant sharks from which morphological and behavioural characteristics are known, we assess the extent to which isolated teeth can serve as proxies for functional traits. To do so, we first review the scientific literature on extant species to evaluate the use of shark dental characters as proxies for ecology to then perform validation analyses based on an independent dataset collected from museum collections. Our results reveal that 12 dental characters have been used in the shark literature as proxies for three functional traits: body size, prey preference and feeding mechanism. From all dental characters identified, tooth size and cutting edge are the most widely used. Validation analyses suggest that seven dental characters – crown height, crown width, cutting edge, lateral cusplets, curvature, longitudinal outline and cross-section outline – are the best proxies for the three functional traits. Specifically, tooth size (crown height and width) was found to be a reliable proxy of all three traits; the presence of serrations on the cutting edge was one of the best proxies for prey preference; and tooth shape (longitudinal outline) and the presence of lateral cusplets were among the best indicators of feeding mechanism. Taken together, our results suggest that in the absence of directly measurable traits in the fossil record, these seven dental characters (and different combinations of them) can be used to quantify the ecological roles of extinct sharks. This information has the potential of providing key insights into how shark functional diversity has changed through time, including their ecological responses to extinction events. Journal Article Journal of Fish Biology 0 Wiley 0022-1112 1095-8649 Body size; dental characters; ecological role; feeding mechanism; prey preference; tooth morphology 30 1 2023 2023-01-30 10.1111/jfb.15326 COLLEGE NANME COLLEGE CODE Swansea University SU Library paid the OA fee (TA Institutional Deal) Swansea University. Fisheries Society of the British Isles - PhD studentship. University of Florida - International Travel Grant. Swiss National Science Foundation - PRIMA 185798 2023-09-21T13:22:48.6459281 2023-01-25T17:48:14.3975213 Faculty of Science and Engineering School of Biosciences, Geography and Physics - Biosciences JACK COOPER 1 John Griffin 0000-0003-3295-6480 2 René Kindlimann 3 Catalina Pimiento 0000-0002-5320-7246 4 62445__26525__53e601ee2ae8450c9cce7425cb887040.pdf 62445_VoR.pdf 2023-02-10T15:48:56.4566569 Output 1931994 application/pdf Version of Record true © 2023 The Authors. Distributed under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Licence (CC BY 4.0). true eng http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
title Are shark teeth proxies for functional traits? A framework to infer ecology from the fossil record
spellingShingle Are shark teeth proxies for functional traits? A framework to infer ecology from the fossil record
JACK COOPER
John Griffin
Catalina Pimiento
title_short Are shark teeth proxies for functional traits? A framework to infer ecology from the fossil record
title_full Are shark teeth proxies for functional traits? A framework to infer ecology from the fossil record
title_fullStr Are shark teeth proxies for functional traits? A framework to infer ecology from the fossil record
title_full_unstemmed Are shark teeth proxies for functional traits? A framework to infer ecology from the fossil record
title_sort Are shark teeth proxies for functional traits? A framework to infer ecology from the fossil record
author_id_str_mv 5bee81f19e912ca8068a4e96add6466f
9814fbffa76dd9c9a207166354cd0b2f
7dd222e2a1d5971b3f3963f0501a9d4f
author_id_fullname_str_mv 5bee81f19e912ca8068a4e96add6466f_***_JACK COOPER
9814fbffa76dd9c9a207166354cd0b2f_***_John Griffin
7dd222e2a1d5971b3f3963f0501a9d4f_***_Catalina Pimiento
author JACK COOPER
John Griffin
Catalina Pimiento
author2 JACK COOPER
John Griffin
René Kindlimann
Catalina Pimiento
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description Modern sharks have an evolutionary history of at least 250 million years and are known to play key roles in marine systems, from controlling prey populations, to connecting habitats across oceans. These ecological roles can be quantified based on their functional traits, which are typically morphological (e.g., body size) or behavioural (e.g., feeding and diet). However, our understanding of such roles of extinct sharks is limited by the inherent incompleteness of their fossil record, which consists mainly of isolated teeth. As such, establishing links between tooth morphology and ecological traits in living sharks could provide a useful framework to infer sharks’ ecology from the fossil record. Here, based on extant sharks from which morphological and behavioural characteristics are known, we assess the extent to which isolated teeth can serve as proxies for functional traits. To do so, we first review the scientific literature on extant species to evaluate the use of shark dental characters as proxies for ecology to then perform validation analyses based on an independent dataset collected from museum collections. Our results reveal that 12 dental characters have been used in the shark literature as proxies for three functional traits: body size, prey preference and feeding mechanism. From all dental characters identified, tooth size and cutting edge are the most widely used. Validation analyses suggest that seven dental characters – crown height, crown width, cutting edge, lateral cusplets, curvature, longitudinal outline and cross-section outline – are the best proxies for the three functional traits. Specifically, tooth size (crown height and width) was found to be a reliable proxy of all three traits; the presence of serrations on the cutting edge was one of the best proxies for prey preference; and tooth shape (longitudinal outline) and the presence of lateral cusplets were among the best indicators of feeding mechanism. Taken together, our results suggest that in the absence of directly measurable traits in the fossil record, these seven dental characters (and different combinations of them) can be used to quantify the ecological roles of extinct sharks. This information has the potential of providing key insights into how shark functional diversity has changed through time, including their ecological responses to extinction events.
published_date 2023-01-30T13:22:46Z
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