Crater lake cichlids individually specialize along the benthic-limnetic axis.
ABSTRACT: A common pattern of adaptive diversification in freshwater fishes is the repeated evolution of elongated open water (limnetic) species and high-bodied shore (benthic) species from generalist ancestors. Studies on phenotype-diet correlations have suggested that population-wide individual specialization occurs at an early evolutionary and ecological stage of divergence and niche partitioning. This variable restricted niche use across individuals can provide the raw material for earliest stages of sympatric divergence. We investigated variation in morphology and diet as well as their correlations along the benthic-limnetic axis in an extremely young Midas cichlid species, Amphilophus tolteca, endemic to the Nicaraguan crater lake Asososca Managua. We found that A. tolteca varied continuously in ecologically relevant traits such as body shape and lower pharyngeal jaw morphology. The correlation of these phenotypes with niche suggested that individuals are specialized along the benthic-limnetic axis. No genetic differentiation within the crater lake was detected based on genotypes from 13 microsatellite loci. Overall, we found that individual specialization in this young crater lake species encompasses the limnetic-as well as the benthic macro-habitat. Yet there is no evidence for any diversification within the species, making this a candidate system for studying what might be the early stages preceding sympatric divergence. A common pattern of adaptive diversification in freshwater fishes is the repeated evolution of open water (limnetic) species and of shore (benthic) species. Individual specialization can reflect earliest stages of evolutionary and ecological divergence. We here demonstrate individual specialization along the benthic-limnetic axis in a young adaptive radiation of crater lake cichlid fishes.
Project description:Divergence along a benthic to limnetic habitat axis is ubiquitous in aquatic systems. However, this type of habitat divergence has largely been examined in low diversity, high latitude lake systems. In this study, we examined the importance of benthic and limnetic divergence within the incredibly species-rich radiation of Lake Malawi cichlid fishes. Using novel phylogenetic reconstructions, we provided a series of hypotheses regarding the evolutionary relationships among 24 benthic and limnetic species that suggests divergence along this axis has occurred multiple times within Lake Malawi cichlids. Because pectoral fin morphology is often associated with divergence along this habitat axis in other fish groups, we investigated divergence in pectoral fin muscles in these benthic and limnetic cichlid species. We showed that the eight pectoral fin muscles and fin area generally tended to evolve in a tightly correlated manner in the Lake Malawi cichlids. Additionally, we found that larger pectoral fin muscles are strongly associated with the independent evolution of the benthic feeding habit across this group of fish. Evolutionary specialization along a benthic/limnetic axis has occurred multiple times within this tropical lake radiation and has produced repeated convergent matching between exploitation of water column habitats and locomotory morphology.
Project description:The polychromatic and trophically polymorphic Midas cichlid fish species complex (Amphilophus cf. citrinellus) is an excellent model system for studying the mechanisms of speciation and patterns of phenotypic diversification in allopatry and in sympatry. Here, we first review research to date on the species complex and the geological history of its habitat. We analyse body shape variation from all currently described species in the complex, sampled from six crater lakes (maximally 1.2-23.9 kyr old) and both great lakes in Nicaragua. We find that Midas cichlid populations in each lake have their own characteristic body shape. In lakes with multiple sympatric species of Midas cichlid, each species has a distinct body shape. Across the species complex, most body shape change relates to body depth, head, snout and mouth shape and caudal peduncle length. There is independent parallel evolution of an elongate limnetic species in at least two crater lakes. Mitochondrial genetic diversity is higher in crater lakes with multiple species. Midas cichlid species richness increases with the size and age of the crater lakes, though no such relationship exists for the other syntopic fishes. We suggest that crater lake Midas cichlids follow the predicted pattern of an adaptive radiation, with early divergence of each crater lake colonization, followed by intralacustrine diversification and speciation by ecological adaptation and sexual selection.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The enormous diversity found in East African cichlid fishes in terms of morphology, coloration, and behavior have made them a model for the study of speciation and adaptive evolution. In particular, haplochromine cichlids, by far the most species-rich lineage of cichlids, are a well-known textbook example for parallel evolution. Southwestern Uganda is an area of high tectonic activity, and is home to numerous crater lakes. Many Ugandan crater lakes were colonized, apparently independently, by a single lineage of haplochromine cichlids. Thereby, this system could be considered a natural experiment in which one can study the interaction between geographical isolation and natural selection promoting phenotypic diversification. RESULTS:We sampled 13 crater lakes and six potentially-ancestral older lakes and, using both mitochondrial and microsatellite markers, discovered strong genetic and morphological differentiation whereby (a) geographically close lakes tend to be genetically more similar and (b) three different geographic areas seem to have been colonized by three independent waves of colonization from the same source population. Using a geometric morphometric approach, we found that body shape elongation (i.e. a limnetic morphology) evolved repeatedly from the ancestral deeper-bodied benthic morphology in the clear and deep crater lake habitats. CONCLUSIONS:A pattern of strong genetic and morphological differentiation was observed in the Ugandan crater lakes. Our data suggest that body shape changes have repeatedly evolved into a more limnetic-like form in several Ugandan crater lakes after independent waves of colonization from the same source population. The observed morphological changes in crater lake cichlids are likely to result from a common selective regime.
Project description:Coregonid fishes are among the most successful groups in the subarctic, boreal, and subalpine fresh waters of the northern hemisphere. Limnetic-benthic sympatric species-pairs from two different evolutionary lineages, the North American lake whitefish (<i>Coregonus clupeaformis</i> species complex), and the European whitefish (<i>Coregonus lavaretus</i> species complex), are becoming the subject of close attention to explore the role of natural selection during the ecological speciation. Baikal endemic coregonids, limnetic omul (<i>Coregonus migratorius</i>), and benthic lacustrine whitefish (<i>Coregonus baicalensis</i>) are the only representatives of another unique lineage that has not left the lake since the divergence from the two above. Due to Pleistocene oscillations sympatric limnetic-benthic divergence has been replicated here many times within the same water body over a long geological period in contrast to both Europe and America where sympatric species-pairs are the results of post-glacial secondary-contacts between glacial isolates during the Late Pleistocene on the territory of each continent. Mitochondrial genomes encode genes that are essential for respiration and metabolism. Data on complete mitogenomes of Baikal endemic coregonids provided here will complement ongoing investigations on energy metabolism as the main biological function involved in the divergence between limnetic and benthic whitefish.
Project description:Our understanding of how biological diversity arises is limited, especially in the case of speciation in the face of gene flow. Here we investigate the genomic basis of adaptive traits, focusing on a sympatrically diverging species pair of crater lake cichlid fishes. We identify the main quantitative trait loci (QTL) for two eco-morphological traits: body shape and pharyngeal jaw morphology. These traits diverge in parallel between benthic and limnetic species in the repeated adaptive radiations of this and other fish lineages. Remarkably, a single chromosomal region contains the highest effect size QTL for both traits. Transcriptomic data show that the QTL regions contain genes putatively under selection. Independent population genomic data corroborate QTL regions as areas of high differentiation between the sympatric sister species. Our results provide empirical support for current theoretical models that emphasize the importance of genetic linkage and pleiotropy in facilitating rapid divergence in sympatry.
Project description:Cichlid fishes are an excellent model system for studying speciation and the formation of adaptive radiations because of their tremendous species richness and astonishing phenotypic diversity. Most research has focused on African rift lake fishes, although Neotropical cichlid species display much variability as well. Almost one dozen species of the Midas cichlid species complex (Amphilophus spp.) have been described so far and have formed repeated adaptive radiations in several Nicaraguan crater lakes. Here we apply double-digest restriction-site associated DNA sequencing to obtain a high-density linkage map of an interspecific cross between the benthic Amphilophus astorquii and the limnetic Amphilophus zaliosus, which are sympatric species endemic to Crater Lake Apoyo, Nicaragua. A total of 755 RAD markers were genotyped in 343 F(2) hybrids. The map resolved 25 linkage groups and spans a total distance of 1427 cM with an average marker spacing distance of 1.95 cM, almost matching the total number of chromosomes (n = 24) in these species. Regions of segregation distortion were identified in five linkage groups. Based on the pedigree of parents to F(2) offspring, we calculated a genome-wide mutation rate of 6.6 × 10(-8) mutations per nucleotide per generation. This genetic map will facilitate the mapping of ecomorphologically relevant adaptive traits in the repeated phenotypes that evolved within the Midas cichlid lineage and, as the first linkage map of a Neotropical cichlid, facilitate comparative genomic analyses between African cichlids, Neotropical cichlids and other teleost fishes.
Project description:The mechanisms of speciation without geographic isolation (i.e., sympatric speciation) remain debated. This is due in part to the fact that the genomic landscape that could promote or hinder species divergence in the presence of gene flow is still largely unknown. However, intensive research is now centered on understanding the genetic architecture of adaptive traits associated with this process as well as how gene expression might affect these traits. Here, using RNA-Seq data, we investigated gene expression of sympatrically speciating benthic and limnetic Neotropical cichlid fishes at two developmental stages. First, we identified groups of coexpressed genes (modules) at each stage. Although there are a few large and well-preserved modules, most of the other modules are not preserved across life stages. Second, we show that later in development more and larger coexpression modules are associated with divergence between benthic and limnetic fish compared with the earlier life stage. This divergence between benthic and limnetic fish in coexpression mirrors divergence in overall expression between benthic and limnetic fish, which is more pronounced later in life. Our results reveal that already at 1-day posthatch benthic and limnetic fish diverge in (co)expression, and that this divergence becomes more substantial when fish are free-swimming but still unlikely to have divergent swimming and feeding habits. More importantly, our study describes how the coexpression of several genes through development, as opposed to individual genes, is associated with benthic-limnetic species differences, and how two morphogenetic trajectories diverge as fish grow older.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The evolution of ecological divergence in closely related species is a key component of adaptive radiation. However, in most examples of adaptive radiation the mechanistic basis of ecological divergence remains unclear. A classic example is seen in the young benthic and limnetic stickleback species pairs of British Columbia. In each pair the benthic species feeds on littoral macroinvertebrates whereas the limnetic feeds on pelagic zooplankton. Previous studies indicate that in both short-term feeding trials and long-term enclosure studies, benthics and limnetics exhibit enhanced performance on their own resource but fare more poorly on the other species' resource. We examined the functional basis of ecological divergence in the stickleback species pair from Paxton Lake, BC, using biomechanical models of fish feeding applied to morphological traits. We examined the consequences of morphological differences using high speed video of feeding fish. RESULTS:Benthic stickleback possess morphological traits that predict high suction generation capacity, including greatly hypertrophied epaxial musculature. In contrast, limnetic stickleback possess traits thought to enhance capture of evasive planktonic prey, including greater jaw protrusion than benthics and greater displacement advantage in both the lower jaw-opening lever system and the opercular four-bar linkage. Kinematic data support the expectations from the morphological analysis that limnetic stickleback exhibit faster strikes and greater jaw protrusion than benthic fish, whereas benthics exert greater suction force on attached prey. CONCLUSIONS:We reveal a previously unknown suite of complex morphological traits that affect rapid ecological divergence in sympatric stickleback. These results indicate that postglacial divergence in stickleback involves many functional systems and shows the value of investigating the functional consequences of phenotypic divergence in adaptive radiation.
Project description:Gut bacterial communities are now known to influence a range of fitness related aspects of organisms. But how different the microbial community is in closely related species, and if these differences can be interpreted as adaptive is still unclear. In this study we compared microbial communities in two sets of closely related sympatric crater lake cichlid fish species pairs that show similar adaptations along the limnetic-benthic axis. The gut microbial community composition differs in the species pair inhabiting the older of two crater lakes. One major difference, relative to other fish, is that in these cichlids that live in hypersaline crater lakes, the microbial community is largely made up of Oceanospirillales (52.28%) which are halotolerant or halophilic bacteria. This analysis opens up further avenues to identify candidate symbiotic or co-evolved bacteria playing a role in adaptation to similar diets and life-styles or even have a role in speciation. Future functional and phylosymbiotic analyses might help to address these issues.
Project description:Explaining why some lineages diversify while others do not and how are key objectives in evolutionary biology. Young radiations of closely related species derived from the same source population provide an excellent opportunity to disentangle the relative contributions of possible drivers of diversification. In these settings, lineage-specific effects are shared and can be ruled out. Moreover, the relevant demographic and ecological parameters can be estimated accurately. Midas cichlid fish in Nicaragua have repeatedly colonized several crater lakes, diverged from the same source populations, and, interestingly, diversified in some of them but not others. Here, using the most comprehensive molecular and geometric morphometric data set on Midas cichlids to date (?20,000 SNPs, 12 landmarks, ?700 individuals), we aim to understand why and how crater lake populations diverge and why some of them are more prone to diversify in sympatry than others. Taking ancestor-descendant relationships into account, we find that Midas cichlids diverged in parallel from their source population mostly-but not exclusively-by evolving more slender body shapes in all six investigated crater lakes. Admixture among crater lakes has possibly facilitated this process in one case, but overall, admixture and secondary waves of colonization cannot predict morphological divergence and intralacustrine diversification. Instead, morphological divergence is larger the more dissimilar a crater lake is compared to the source lake and happens rapidly after colonization followed by a slow-down with time. Our data also provide some evidence that founder effects may positively contribute to divergence. The depth of a crater lake is positively associated with variation in body shapes (and number of species), presumably by providing more ecological opportunities. In conclusion, we find that parallel morphological divergence in allopatry and the propensity for diversification in sympatry across the entire Midas cichlid fish radiation is partly predictable and mostly driven by ecology.