3D Cranial Morphometry, Sensory Ecology and Climate Change in African Rodents

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dc.contributor.advisor Taylor,, Peter
dc.contributor.advisor Braga, Jose
dc.contributor.author Nengovhela, Aluwani
dc.date 2018
dc.date.accessioned 2019-06-04T06:32:01Z
dc.date.available 2019-06-04T06:32:01Z
dc.date.issued 2019-05-15
dc.identifier.citation Nengovhela, Aluwani (2018) 3D Cranial Morphometry, Sensory Ecology and Climate Change in African Rodents, University of Venda, South Africa.,<http://hdl.handle.net/11602/1314>.
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11602/1314
dc.description PhD (Zoology) en_US
dc.description Department of Zoology
dc.description.abstract The order Rodentia is the most speciose group of mammals with muroids being the most diverse superfamily. Since they are represented in arboreal, semiaquatic, subterranean and terrestrial niches, rodents may exhibit morphological traits reflecting their adaptations to such diverse environments. This thesis focuses on the morphology of the endocranium, auditory bulla and cochlea in three tribes (Otomyini, Taterillini and Gerbillini) representing 10 species of African rodents, concentrating on their variability, function and adaptability, using micro-CT imaging and 3D shape comparative methods. Additionally, variations in cranial size were also studied in respective of global warming and climatic variables. Morphological changes/variations are a result of environmental change, therefore each chapter in this study details the effect of environmental change (in space and time) on different morphological traits i.e. general cranial size (chapter 2), cochlea and auditory bulla (chapter 3) and endocranial size and shape (chapter 4). With chapter 2 dealing specifically with climate change in its strict sense and the remaining two chapters looking at different environmental gradients. Chapter 2 tests the applicability of the “third universal response to warming” (i.e. declining body size) and the Resource Rule in two murid subfamilies, Murinae and Gerbillinae. The study shows that the third response is not as universal as only one species conformed to this response. Further, food availability (Resource Rule) was shown to be the more important factor correlated with body size variations in rodent species than Bergmann’s Rule. Chapter 3 looks at the auditory bulla and cochlea, the morphological traits that play a role in hearing capabilities of rodents. I found, with some exceptions, that bulla and cochlea modifications between species could be explained by environment, phylogeny and/or allometry. In addition, I concluded that true desert adapted laminate-toothed rats and gerbils use both bulla and associated cochlea hypertrophy. Chapter 4 shows larger brain size in Taterillini and two species of Otomyini, with life histories and environment being the most probably factors responsible for xiv this. Using a novel method of diffeomorphism (deformation models), there was more variation in endocranial morphology between the gerbils and laminate-toothed rats than within them with olfactory bulb, paraflocculi, and posterior ventral cortex showing the most variability. Overall, this thesis shows that variations in the morphological traits studied are strongly influenced by the environment and function. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship NRF en_US
dc.format.extent 1 online resource(xiv, 191 leaves: color ilustrations, color maps)
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.rights University of Venda
dc.subject Climate change en_US
dc.subject 3D en_US
dc.subject Cranial Morphometry en_US
dc.subject Sensory ecology en_US
dc.subject Rodents en_US
dc.title 3D Cranial Morphometry, Sensory Ecology and Climate Change in African Rodents en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US

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