Crandall and Stern Published in Evolution

August 18, 2017

Professor Keith Crandall co-authored "Phylogenetic evidence from freshwater crayfishes that cave adaptation is not an evolutionary dead-end" with Computational Biology Institute student David Stern, which was published in Evolution on August 14th, 2017. Caves are perceived as isolated, extreme habitats with a set of uniquely specialized biota, which long ago led to the idea that caves are ‘evolutionary dead-ends.’ The authors found that while cave-dwelling lineages have small relative range sizes and rarely transition back to the surface, they exhibit remarkably similar diversification patterns to those of other habitat types and appear to be able to maintain a diversity of lineages through time. This suggests that cave-adaptation is not a ‘dead-end’ for freshwater crayfish, which has positive implications for the understanding of biodiversity and conservation in cave habitats.