Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2010

Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Degree In


First Advisor

Budd, Ann F.

First Committee Member

Sims, Hallie

Second Committee Member

Hunt, Gene


In this study, the corallite shapes of three species of the scleractinian genus Undaria from the Yague group, Dominican Republic, were examined through a period of time stretching from 6.4 mya to 3.4 mya, a total of 3.0 ma. Corallite shape was measured using 3 dimensional landmarks and manipulated using the well established procedures of geometric morphometrics. Differences in shape and size through time were examined using a variety of tools, including canonical variates analysis, principal components analysis, least squares regression, partial least squares regression, and a variety of evolutionary model fits. Evolutionary model fits were used to test three models against the shape and size variables: general random walk, which models a directional change through time; unbiased random walk, which models random change through time; and stasis, which models stability through time. Stasis is the most common parameter through time, supported in 9 of 15 (60%) of cases, while the unbiased random walk was supported 6 of 15 times. While there was a significant change in one species associated with environmental variables, those variables were also correlated with time and no causal relationship can be reached.


environmental conditions, geometric morphometrics, gradualism, shape, stasis, Undaria


vi, 45 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 43-45).


Copyright 2010 Kristopher J S Rhodes

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