My research involves investigating the evolution of spiny-rayed teleosts (Acanthomorpha) – a group of fish containing over a third of living vertebrate species, and exhibiting extraordinary morphological diversity. I focus on integrating fossil and living taxa to explore the origins of the group, and seek to understand how they became so abundant and diverse today. I use phylogenetic trees derived from both morphological and molecular data, as well as informal supertrees, to study how extinct acanthomorphs are related to living taxa. Areas of focus include the ctenothrissiforms and lampridomorphs. I have an interest in large-scale evolutionary processes, particularly the evolution of functional traits, such as suction feeding and jaw protrusion. In my research I employ a number of analytical (e.g ancestral character reconstruction) and technological (e.g. CT scanning) approaches to help me study the evolution of this important group of animals.
View Selected Publications
Delbarre, D. J., Davesne, D. & Friedman, M. 2016. Anatomy and relationships of †Aipichthys pretiosus and †‘Aipichthys’ nuchalis (Acanthomorpha: Lampridomorpha), with a review of Late Cretaceous relatives of oarfishes and their allies. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, 14:7, 545-567, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14772019.2015.1078538
Bellwood, D. R., Goatley, C. H. R., Bellwood, O., Delbarre, D. J. & Friedman, M. 2015. The rise of jaw protrusion in spiny-rayed fishes closes the gap on elusive prey. Current Biology, 25:20, 2696-2700, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2015.08.058