Parallel evolution in Ugandan crater lakes: repeated evolution of limnetic body shapes in haplochromine cichlid fish.
ABSTRACT: 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:Established empirical cases of sympatric speciation are scarce, although there is an increasing consensus that sympatric speciation might be more common than previously thought. Midas cichlid fish are one of the few substantiated cases of sympatric speciation, and they formed repeated radiations in crater lakes. In contrast, in the same environment, such radiation patterns have not been observed in other species of cichlids and other families of fish. We analyze morphological and genetic variation in a cichlid species (Archocentrus centrarchus) that co-inhabits several crater lakes with the Midas species complex. In particular, we analyze variation in body and pharyngeal jaw shape (two ecologically important traits in sympatrically divergent Midas cichlids) and relate that to genetic variation in mitochondrial control region and microsatellites. Using these four datasets, we analyze variation between and within two Nicaraguan lakes: a crater lake where multiple Midas cichlids have been described and a lake where the source population lives. We do not observe any within-lake clustering consistent across morphological traits and genetic markers, suggesting the absence of sympatric divergence in A. centrarchus. Genetic differentiation between lakes was low and morphological divergence absent. Such morphological similarity between lakes is found not only in average morphology, but also when analyzing covariation between traits and degree of morphospace occupation. A combined analysis of the mitochondrial control region in A. centrarchus and Midas cichlids suggests that a difference between lineages in the timing of crater lake colonization cannot be invoked as an explanation for the difference in their levels of diversification. In light of our results, A. centrarchus represents the ideal candidate to study the genomic differences between these two lineages that might explain why some lineages are more likely to speciate and diverge in sympatry than others.
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:The Great Lakes region of East Africa, including Lake Victoria, is the center of diversity of the mega-diverse cichlid fishes (Perciformes: Teleostei). Paleolimnological evidence indicates dramatic desiccation of this lake ca. 18,000-15,000 years ago. Consequently, the hundreds of extant endemic haplochromine species in the lake must have either evolved since then or refugia must have existed, within that lake basin or elsewhere, from which Lake Victoria was recolonized. We studied the population history of the Lake Victoria region superflock (LVRS) of haplochromine cichlids based on nuclear genetic analysis (12 microsatellite loci from 400 haplochomines) of populations from Lake Kivu, Lake Victoria, and the connected and surrounding rivers and lakes. Population genetic analyses confirmed that Lake Kivu haplochromines colonized Lake Victoria. Coalescent analyses show a 30- to 50-fold decline in the haplochromine populations of Lake Victoria, Lake Kivu, and the region ca. 18,000-15,000 years ago. We suggest that this coincides with drastic climatic and geological changes in the late Pleistocene. The most recent common ancestor of the Lake Victoria region haplochromines was estimated to have existed about 4.5 million years ago, which corresponds to the first radiation of cichlids in Lake Tanganyika and the origin of the tribe Haplochrominii. This relatively old evolutionary origin may explain the high levels of polymorphism still found in modern haplochromines. This degree of polymorphism might have acted as a "genetic reservoir" that permitted the explosive radiation of hundreds of haplochromines and their array of contemporary adaptive morphologies.
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:Adaptive radiation research typically relies on the study of evolution in retrospective, leaving the predictive value of the concept hard to evaluate. Several radiations, including the cichlid fishes in the East African Great Lakes, have been studied extensively, yet no study has investigated the onset of the intraspecific processes of niche expansion and differentiation shortly after colonization of an adaptive zone by cichlids. Haplochromine cichlids of one of the two lineages that seeded the Lake Victoria radiation recently arrived in Lake Chala, a lake perfectly suited for within-lake cichlid speciation. Here, we infer the colonization and demographic history, quantify phenotypic, ecological and genomic diversity and diversification, and investigate the selection regime to ask if the population shows signs of diversification resembling the onset of adaptive radiation. We find that since their arrival in the lake, haplochromines have colonized a wide range of depth habitats associated with ecological and morphological expansion and the beginning of phenotypic differentiation and potentially nascent speciation, consistent with the very early onset of an adaptive radiation process. Moreover, we demonstrate evidence of rugged phenotypic fitness surfaces, indicating that current ecological selection may contribute to the phenotypic diversification.
Project description:BACKGROUND: After a volcano erupts, a lake may form in the cooled crater and become an isolated aquatic ecosystem. This makes fishes in crater lakes informative for understanding sympatric evolution and ecological diversification in barren environments. From a geological and limnological perspective, such research offers insight about the process of crater lake ecosystem establishment and speciation. In the present study we use genetic and coalescence approaches to infer the colonization history of Midas cichlid fishes (Amphilophus cf. citrinellus) that inhabit a very young crater lake in Nicaragua-the ca. 1800 year-old Lake Apoyeque. This lake holds two sympatric, endemic morphs of Midas cichlid: one with large, hypertrophied lips (approximately 20% of the total population) and another with thin lips. Here we test the associated ecological, morphological and genetic diversification of these two morphs and their potential to represent incipient speciation. RESULTS: Gene coalescence analyses [11 microsatellite loci and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences] suggest that crater lake Apoyeque was colonized in a single event from the large neighbouring great lake Managua only about 100 years ago. This founding in historic times is also reflected in the extremely low nuclear and mitochondrial genetic diversity in Apoyeque. We found that sympatric adult thin- and thick-lipped fishes occupy distinct ecological trophic niches. Diet, body shape, head width, pharyngeal jaw size and shape and stable isotope values all differ significantly between the two lip-morphs. The eco-morphological features pharyngeal jaw shape, body shape, stomach contents and stable isotopes (delta15N) all show a bimodal distribution of traits, which is compatible with the expectations of an initial stage of ecological speciation under disruptive selection. Genetic differentiation between the thin- and thick-lipped population is weak at mtDNA sequence (FST = 0.018) and absent at nuclear microsatellite loci (FST < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: This study provides empirical evidence of eco-morphological differentiation occurring very quickly after the colonization of a new and vacant habitat. Exceptionally low levels of neutral genetic diversity and inference from coalescence indicates that the Midas cichlid population in Apoyeque is much younger (ca. 100 years or generations old) than the crater itself (ca. 1 800 years old). This suggests either that the crater remained empty for many hundreds of years after its formation or that remnant volcanic activity prevented the establishment of a stable fish population during the early life of the crater lake. Based on our findings of eco-morphological variation in the Apoyeque Midas cichlids, and known patterns of adaptation in Midas cichlids in general, we suggest that this population may be in a very early stage of speciation (incipient species), promoted by disruptive selection and ecological diversification.
Project description: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: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: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 process of adaptive radiation was classically hypothesized to require isolation of a lineage from its source (no gene flow) and from related species (no competition). Alternatively, hybridization between species may generate genetic variation that facilitates adaptive radiation. Here we study haplochromine cichlid assemblages in two African Great Lakes to test these hypotheses. Greater biotic isolation (fewer lineages) predicts fewer constraints by competition and hence more ecological opportunity in Lake Bangweulu, whereas opportunity for hybridization predicts increased genetic potential in Lake Mweru. In Lake Bangweulu, we find no evidence for hybridization but also no adaptive radiation. We show that the Bangweulu lineages also colonized Lake Mweru, where they hybridized with Congolese lineages and then underwent multiple adaptive radiations that are strikingly complementary in ecology and morphology. Our data suggest that the presence of several related lineages does not necessarily prevent adaptive radiation, although it constrains the trajectories of morphological diversification. It might instead facilitate adaptive radiation when hybridization generates genetic variation, without which radiation may start much later, progress more slowly or never occur.