Using surfperches to help understand the genomic basis of divergence and local adaptation

Gary Longo is a graduate student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, in the Bernardi lab, at UC Santa Cruz. Gary introduces his work on the Embiotocidae in the guest post below. I became interested in the molecular evolution of fishes while taking an undergraduate Ichthyology course. I was majoring in both marine biology and molecular…

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Close Quarters: Redtail and Silver Surfperch Share the Surf

Redtail surfperch, Amphistichus rhodoterus, and silver surfperch, Hyperprosopon ellipticum, can be found year round on almost any exposed sandy beach between from the Long Beach Penninnsula, Washington to Point Reyes, California USA.   In the surf-swept intertidal of this region, they are the most common members of the Amphistichinae, a six-species clade of surfperches in the…

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Surfperches Share Sandy Shores

Below are images of sandy beaches more or less occupied by the surfperches, Amphistichus rhodoterus and Hyperproson ellipticum, year around.  All of the photos were taken at low tide and the views are to the north.  Do you notice any differences?  Do you think a surfperch could? Here on theoutershores, we’re always thinking about how…

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Sampling Surfperch on the Incoming Tide

I’m always getting asked how several species of closely related small silvery surfperch can share sandy beaches without tripping over each other.  How do they partition the surf zone?  Do they eat different prey, avoid each other?  Maybe they find other ways to coexist.  Our fascination with coexistence is well-founded; it explains why there are…

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Below the Surface with the Walleye Surfperch

Most of the time, my only contact with walleye surfperch is on the business end of a fishing line.  Almost everything I know of them has come from books and scientific literature, or hands-on encounters. In fact, my first-ever TOS post, Explore the Surf Zone, featured the image above.  Since then, I’ve written more about…

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To Bite, or Not to Bite

That’s an age old dilemma.  I put surfperch to the test last year with a preference experiment.  I presented colored lures to surfperch in the wild.  If surfperch bite each color equally then there is no preference.  If there is a preference, color matters and we get some insights about the visual ecology of surfperch…

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Fins on Fire

Surfperch live on sandy beaches which can be vast, uniformly colored and featureless. It’s a drab place. Sometimes the beaches are broken up by rock features but true sand-dwellers eschew the rocks. In the photo above, my pack is sitting where surfperch will be feeding in a few hours. Surf zone prey frequently camouflage themselves…

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Does Color Matter when Cammo Rules?

I’ve made the case that color matters to surfperch in the wild and I demonstrated this by showing that given a choice, silver surfperch, Hyperprosopon ellipticum, take orange colored lures at rates higher than you would expect by chance alone. If you want to read about why color might matter to surfperch, and the details…

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Choices, Choices…Everywhere

  In celebration of my first twenty theoutershores posts, I made this fishy Word Cloud from tagxedo.com. The size of words is an index of how frequently they are used in my posts. Surfperch is the biggest word; that’s no surprise. Another relatively big word is color. I think about color a lot. Evolutionary biologists…

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Cammo Rules!

In previous posts, The color of the Caudal and An Abundance of Orange, I introduced the idea that the surf zone is a colorful place and that color matters to surfperch. There are are other species, however, that lack bright colors and maintain a cryptic presence on the outer shores. Here I feature three species…

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