Special Issue "The Evolutionary History of Water-Dwelling Extinct and Extant Reptilia (including Birds) from Body Structure and Physiology to Behavior"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2023 | Viewed by 208
Aquatic reptiles, represented by extinct and extant species, have become secondarily adapted to entirely or semiaquatic life in marine environments and freshwater. Some species, such as turtles and crocodilians, are able to survive in both environments and in water with highly variable salinity. Diverse lineages exploit these environments in different ways, mainly to find food and sexual partners. However, all species have to return to the terrestrial environment for reproduction. The existence of animals that inhabit aquatic environments results from the adaptation of many species’ body structure and physiology throughout their evolutionary history. In the course of evolution, many extinct species (i.e., ichthyosaurs and mosasaurs) disappeared under constraints produced by environmental changes, and only a small number of extant species (excluding birds) returned to aquatic habitats during their evolutionary history. Unfortunately, almost all of these extant species are under strong constraints due to human activity. The impact of humans on these animals has become greater over the last sixty years, despite the international efforts made to protect them, and many questions on the invasion of aquatic habitats with highly different properties (i.e., salinity, temperature, and food dispersion) remain unsolved. In this Special Issue, we wish to highlight a series of papers exploring how reptilian systems have adapted in order to understand the successful invasion of aquatic environments. We are especially interested in integrated processes of aquatic adaptation and physiology (e.g., pertaining to morphology, eco-morphology, ecology, behavioral ecology, phylogeny, and genetic and epigenetic factors) in various lineages of Reptilia to determine the complex evolutionary processes permitting some lineages to use aquatic habitats.
We will consider papers on (but not limited to) the following topics:
- Morphological and eco-morphological adaptations to aquatic environments in various lineages compared with those in terrestrial environments.
- Adaptive responses to various marine and freshwater habitats (physiology, biochemistry, functional morphology, biomechanics).
- The behavioral ecology of various lineages exploiting aquatic habitats (e.g., prey–predator interactions).
- Adaptations to estuarine habitats.
- The impact of human activities on aquatic reptiles (pollution and toxicity, the release of invasive species, the modification of habitats such as seashores, touristic activity, etc.)
- The modification of body structures and physiology.
- The modification of morphological designs (e.g., limbs, lungs, and skulls), physiological processes (e.g., ventilation), and functional and biomechanical characteristics (e.g., size and performance).
Prof. Dr. Vincent L. Bels
Manuscript Submission Information
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- aquatic reptile
- evolutionary history
- body structure
- extinct and extant species