The relationship between morphology and ecology as mediated by performance is generally assumed in integrative biology, but the relationship between the three variables is poorly defined in the literature. Our research serves to relate morphology and ecology through swimming performance in five frog ecomorphs in the Microhylidae family found in Papua New Guinea. Frogs were videoed while swimming in the field. Then the joints were tracked, and kinematic and morphological differences were analyzed. Our work shows that there is a relationship between ecology and morphology as mediated by performance as shown by the aquatic frog superior swimming performance compared to the other ecomorphs. Additionally, future research can apply our swimming analysis with jumping analysis to consider the evolutionary trade-offs associated with ecological specialization.
In collaboration with M.Butler (University of Hawaii) and Max Johnson (USD).