Oral Presentation- Symposium 12th International Mammalogical Congress

Genomic responses to ecological opportunity in the global invasion of Muridae (#494)

Kevin Rowe 1
  1. Museums Victoria, Carlton, VIC, Australia

The Muridae (old world rats, mice and gerbils) comprising 634 extant species are the most species rich mammalian family. They are exceptional colonisers with multiple transitions among continents of the eastern hemisphere, including at least ten transitions across Wallace’s line to reach Sulawesi (7 colonisations), the Philippines (5 colonisations, 2 from Sulawesi), and Sahul (Australia and New Guinea; 2 colonisations, both from Sulawesi or the Philippines). Following these transitions murid rodents have adapted to a wide range of environments (e.g. rainforest, desert, alpine) and ecomorphological niches (e.g. arboreal, amphibious, saltatorial, vermivorous, folivorous). Ecological opportunity theory predicts that these ecological niches should have been filled rapidly through diversification following colonisation. In some cases, the accummulation of lineages is consistent with these predictions, particularly in species of the genus Rattus. In other cases, such as the shrew rats of Sulawesi and their relatives, morphological rates of evolution are consistent with early rapid evolution following colonisation. In Australia, transitions between arid and mesic biomes did not occur early but has occurred repeatedly in the phylogenetically-nested genus Pseudomys. Here we present rates of amino acid substitutions derived from whole exome sequencing from colonising clades of Indo-Australian rodents to test if protein evolution is consistent with rapid early rates of evolution and if a conserved set of proteins are involved in convergent evolution in morphological, dietary and ecological states.