Testudinata is a morphologically disparate group that exhibits a rich fossil record. The linage probably was originated in terrestrial habitats, while the crown-group Testudines (i.e. modern turtles) would have arisen from a semi-aquatic group. Accordingly, turtles display remarkable morphological variations, including in size disparity, which reflects the different habitats they colonized through time. Phylogenetic comparative methods are the main tools to characterize evolutionary patterns and trait evolution. Therefore, this project aims to characterize body size evolution in Testudinata, using a large sample of extant and fossils taxa. For this, we will use the SURFACE algorithm, that assumes trait evolution within at multi-peak Ornstein-Uhlenbeck (OU) process, although we will test for presence of other models, such as Brownian Motion (BM), BM with trend, Early Burst and OU with just one peak. Additionally, using linear regression, we will test for the presence of correlations between patterns of body size and abiotic factors, as well as other biology-related factors.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: