Macroevolutionary diversification with limited niche disparity in a species-rich lineage of cold-climate lizards.
ABSTRACT: Life diversifies via adaptive radiation when natural selection drives the evolution of ecologically distinct species mediated by their access to novel niche space, or via non-adaptive radiation when new species diversify while retaining ancestral niches. However, while cases of adaptive radiation are widely documented, examples of non-adaptively radiating lineages remain rarely observed. A prolific cold-climate lizard radiation from South America (Phymaturus), sister to a hyper-diverse adaptive radiation (Liolaemus), has extensively diversified phylogenetically and geographically, but with exceptionally minimal ecological and life-history diversification. This lineage, therefore, may offer unique opportunities to investigate the non-adaptive basis of diversification, and in combination with Liolaemus, to cover the whole spectrum of modes of diversification predicted by theory, from adaptive to non-adaptive. Using phylogenetic macroevolutionary modelling performed on a newly created 58-species molecular tree, we establish the tempo and mode of diversification in the Phymaturus radiation.Lineage accumulation in Phymaturus opposes a density-dependent (or 'niche-filling') process of diversification. Concurrently, we found that body size diversification is better described by an Ornstein-Uhlenbeck evolutionary model, suggesting stabilizing selection as the mechanism underlying niche conservatism (i.e., maintaining two fundamental size peaks), and which has predominantly evolved around two major adaptive peaks on a 'Simpsonian' adaptive landscape.Lineage diversification of the Phymaturus genus does not conform to an adaptive radiation, as it is characterised by a constant rate of species accumulation during the clade's history. Their strict habitat requirements (rocky outcrops), predominantly invariant herbivory, and especially the constant viviparous reproduction across species have likely limited their opportunities for adaptive diversifications throughout novel environments. This mode of diversification contrasts dramatically with its sister lineage Liolaemus, which geographically overlaps with Phymaturus, but exploits all possible microhabitats in these and other bioclimatic areas. Our study contributes importantly to consolidate these lizards (liolaemids) as promising model systems to investigate the entire spectrum of modes of species formations, from the adaptive to the non-adaptive extremes of the continuum.
Project description:Much evolutionary theory predicts that diversity arises via both adaptive radiation (diversification driven by selection against niche-overlap within communities) and divergence of geographically isolated populations. We focus on tropical fruit flies (Blepharoneura, Tephritidae) that reveal unexpected patterns of niche-overlap within local communities. Throughout the Neotropics, multiple sympatric non-interbreeding populations often share the same highly specialized patterns of host use (e.g., flies are specialists on flowers of a single gender of a single species of host plants). Lineage through time (LTT) plots can help distinguish patterns of diversification consistent with ecologically limited adaptive radiation from those predicted by ecologically neutral theories. Here, we use a time-calibrated phylogeny of Blepharoneura to test the hypothesis that patterns of Blepharoneura diversification are consistent with an "ecologically neutral" model of diversification that predicts that diversification is primarily a function of time and space.The Blepharoneura phylogeny showed more cladogenic divergence associated with geography than with shifts in host-use. Shifts in host-use were associated with ~?20% of recent splits (<?3 Ma), but >?60% of older splits (>?3 Ma). In the overall tree, gamma statistic and maximum likelihood model fitting showed no evidence of diversification rate changes though there was a weak signature of slowing diversification rate in one of the component clades.Overall patterns of Blepharoneura diversity are inconsistent with a traditional explanation of adaptive radiation involving decreases in diversification rates associated with niche-overlap. Sister lineages usually use the same host-species and host-parts, and multiple non-interbreeding sympatric populations regularly co-occur on the same hosts. We suggest that most lineage origins (phylogenetic splits) occur in allopatry, usually without shifts in host-use, and that subsequent dispersal results in assembly of communities composed of multiple sympatric non-interbreeding populations of flies that share the same hosts.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Adaptive radiations are triggered by ecological opportunity - the access to novel niche domains with abundant available resources that facilitate the formation of new ecologically divergent species. Therefore, as new species saturate niche space, clades experience a diversity-dependent slowdown of diversification over time. At the other extreme of the radiation continuum, non-adaptively radiating lineages undergo diversification with minimal niche differentiation when 'spatial opportunity' (i.e. areas with suitable 'ancestral' ecological conditions) is available. Traditionally, most research has focused on adaptive radiations, while empirical studies on non-adaptive radiations remain lagging behind. A prolific clade of African fish with extremely short lifespan (Nothobranchius killifish), show the key evolutionary features of a candidate non-adaptive radiation - primarily allopatric species with minimal niche and phenotypic divergence. Here, we test the hypothesis that Nothobranchius killifish have non-adaptively diversified. We employ phylogenetic modelling to investigate the tempo and mode of macroevolutionary diversification of these organisms. RESULTS:Nothobranchius diversification has proceeded with minor niche differentiation and minimal morphological disparity among allopatric species. Additionally, we failed to identify evidence for a role of body size or biogeography in influencing diversification rates. Diversification has been homogeneous within this genus, with the only hotspot of species-richness not resulting from rapid diversification. However, species in sympatry show higher disparity, which may have been caused by character displacement among coexisting species. CONCLUSIONS:Nothobranchius killifish have proliferated following the tempo and mode of a non-adaptive radiation. Our study confirms that this exceptionally short-lived group have diversified with minimal divergent niche adaptation, while one group of coexisting species seems to have facilitated spatial overlap among these taxa via the evolution of ecological character displacement.
Project description:Adaptive radiations have long served as living libraries to study the build-up of species richness; however, they do not provide good models for radiations that exhibit negligible adaptive disparity. Here, we review work on damselflies to argue that nonadaptive mechanisms were predominant in the radiation of this group and have driven species divergence through sexual selection arising from male-female mating interactions. Three damselfly genera (Calopteryx,Enallagma and Ischnura) are highlighted and the extent of (i) adaptive ecological divergence in niche use and (ii) nonadaptive differentiation in characters associated with reproduction (e.g. sexual morphology and behaviours) was evaluated. We demonstrate that species diversification in the genus Calopteryx is caused by nonadaptive divergence in coloration and behaviour affecting premating isolation, and structural differentiation in reproductive morphology affecting postmating isolation. Similarly, the vast majority of diversification events in the sister genera Enallagma and Ischnura are entirely driven by differentiation in genital structures used in species recognition. The finding that closely related species can show negligible ecological differences yet are completely reproductively isolated suggests that the evolution of reproductive isolation can be uncoupled from niche-based divergent natural selection, challenging traditional niche models of species coexistence.
Project description:This study aims to identify events that modeled the historical biogeography of Phymaturus, using three methodologies: Spatial Analysis of Vicariance (VIP), Statistical Dispersal-Vicariance Analysis (S-DIVA), and Bayesian Binary Method MCMC (BBM). In order to assign areas for the Dispersal-Vicariance and the BBM analyses, we preferred not to use predefined areas, but to identify areas defined via an endemism analysis of Phymaturus species. The analyses were conducted using the same basic topology, which we obtained by constructing a metatree with two recent phylogenies, both morphology and molecular-based. This topology was also used to obtain time divergence estimates in BEAST, using more outgroups than for the metatree in order to get more accurate estimates. The S-DIVA analysis based on the metatree found 25 vicariance events, 20 dispersals and two extinctions; the S-DIVA analysis based on the BEAST tree yielded 30 vicariance events, 42 dispersal events and five extinctions, and the BBM analysis yielded 63 dispersal events, 28 vicariance events and 1 extinction event. According to the metatree analysis, the ancestral area for Phymaturus covers northern Payunia and southern Central Monte. A vicariant event fragmented the ancestral distribution of the genus, resulting in northern Payunia and southern Central Monte as ancestral area for the P. palluma group, and southern Payunia for the P. patagonicus group. The analysis based on the BEAST tree showed a more complex reconstruction, with several dispersal and extinction events in the ancestral node. The Spatial Analysis of Vicariance identified 41 disjunct sister nodes and removed 10 nodes. The barrier that separates the P. palluma group from the P. patagonicus group is roughly congruent with the southern limit of the P. palluma group. The ancestral range for the genus occupies a central position relative to the distribution of the group, which implies that the species must have migrated to the north (P. palluma group) and to the south (P. patagonicus group). To answer questions related to the specific timing of the events, a molecular clock for Phymaturus was obtained, using a Liolaemus fossil for calibration. The present contribution provides a hypothetical framework for the events that modeled the distribution of Phymaturus.
Project description:Urbanization is influencing patterns of biological evolution in ways that are only beginning to be explored. One potential effect of urbanization is in modifying ecological resource distributions that underlie niche differences and that thus promote and maintain species diversification. Few studies have assessed such modifications, or their potential evolutionary consequences, in the context of ongoing adaptive radiation. We study this effect in Darwin's finches on the Galápagos Islands, by quantifying feeding preferences and diet niche partitioning across sites with different degrees of urbanization. We found higher finch density in urban sites and that feeding preferences and diets at urban sites skew heavily toward human food items. Furthermore, we show that finches at urban sites appear to be accustomed to the presence of people, compared with birds at sites with few people. In addition, we found that human behavior via the tendency to feed birds at non-urban but tourist sites is likely an important driver of finch preferences for human foods. Site differences in diet and feeding behavior have resulted in larger niche breadth within finch species and wider niche overlap between species at the urban sites. Both factors effectively minimize niche differences that would otherwise facilitate interspecies coexistence. These findings suggest that both human behavior and ongoing urbanization in Galápagos are starting to erode ecological differences that promote and maintain adaptive radiation in Darwin's finches. Smoothing of adaptive landscapes underlying diversification represents a potentially important yet underappreciated consequence of urbanization. Overall, our findings accentuate the fragility of the initial stages of adaptive radiation in Darwin's finches and raise concerns about the fate of the Galápagos ecosystems in the face of increasing urbanization.
Project description:Understanding ecological mechanisms regulating the evolution of biodiversity is of much interest to ecologists and evolutionary biologists. Adaptive radiation constitutes an important evolutionary process that generates biodiversity. Competition has long been thought to influence adaptive radiation, but the directionality of its effect and associated mechanisms remain ambiguous. Here, we report a rigorous experimental test of the role of competition on adaptive radiation using the rapidly evolving bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens SBW25 interacting with multiple bacterial species that differed in their phylogenetic distance to the diversifying bacterium. We showed that the inhibitive effect of competitors on the adaptive radiation of P. fluorescens decreased as their phylogenetic distance increased. To explain this phylogenetic dependency of adaptive radiation, we linked the phylogenetic distance between P. fluorescens and its competitors to their niche and competitive fitness differences. Competitive fitness differences, which showed weak phylogenetic signal, reduced P. fluorescens abundance and thus diversification, whereas phylogenetically conserved niche differences promoted diversification. These results demonstrate the context dependency of competitive effects on adaptive radiation, and highlight the importance of past evolutionary history for ongoing evolutionary processes.
Project description:Adaptive radiations have served as model systems for quantifying the build-up of species richness. Few studies have quantified the tempo of diversification in species-rich clades that contain negligible adaptive disparity, making the macroevolutionary consequences of different modes of evolutionary radiation difficult to assess. We use mitochondrial-DNA sequence data and recently developed phylogenetic methodologies to explore the tempo of diversification of eastern North American Plethodon, a species-rich clade of woodland salamanders exhibiting only limited phenotypic disparity. Lineage-through-time analysis reveals a high rate of lineage accumulation, 0.8 species per million years, occurring 11-8 million years ago in the P. glutinosus species group, followed by decreasing rates. This high rate of lineage accumulation is exceptional, comparable to the most rapid of adaptive radiations. In contrast to classic models of adaptive radiation where ecological niche divergence is linked to the origin of species, we propose that phylogenetic niche conservatism contributes to the rapid accumulation of P. glutinosus-group lineages by promoting vicariant isolation and multiplication of species across a spatially and temporally fluctuating environment. These closely related and ecologically similar lineages persist through long-periods of evolutionary time and form strong barriers to the geographic spread of their neighbours, producing a subsequent decline in lineage accumulation. Rapid diversification among lineages exhibiting long-term maintenance of their bioclimatic niche requirements is an under-appreciated phenomenon driving the build-up of species richness.
Project description:Chemical communication plays a pivotal role in shaping sexual and ecological interactions among animals. In lizards, fundamental mechanisms of sexual selection such as female mate choice have rarely been shown to be influenced by quantitative phenotypic traits (e.g., ornaments), while chemical signals have been found to potentially influence multiple forms of sexual and social interactions, including mate choice and territoriality. Chemical signals in lizards are secreted by glands primarily located on the edge of the cloacae (precloacal glands, PG) and thighs (femoral glands), and whose interspecific and interclade number ranges from 0 to >?100. However, elucidating the factors underlying the evolution of such remarkable variation remains an elusive endeavour. Competing hypotheses suggest a dominant role for phylogenetic conservatism (i.e., species within clades share similar numbers of glands) or for natural selection (i.e., their adaptive diversification results in deviating numbers of glands from ancestors). Using the prolific Liolaemus lizard radiation from South America (where PG vary from 0 to 14), we present one of the largest-scale tests of both hypotheses to date. Based on climatic and phylogenetic modelling, we show a clear role for both phylogenetic inertia and adaptation underlying gland variation: (i) solar radiation, net primary productivity, topographic heterogeneity and precipitation range have a significant effect on PG variation, (ii) humid and cold environments tend to concentrate species with a higher number of glands, (iii) there is a strong phylogenetic signal that tends to conserve the number of PG within clades. Collectively, our study confirms that the inertia of niche conservatism can be broken down by the need of species facing different selection regimes to adjust their glands to suit the demands of their specific environments.
Project description:According to theory, adaptive radiation is triggered by ecological opportunity that can arise through the colonization of new habitats, the extinction of antagonists or the origin of key innovations. In the course of an adaptive radiation, diversification and morphological evolution are expected to slow down after an initial phase of rapid adaptation to vacant ecological niches, followed by speciation. Such 'early bursts' of diversification are thought to occur because niche space becomes increasingly filled over time. The diversification of Antarctic notothenioid fishes into over 120 species has become one of the prime examples of adaptive radiation in the marine realm and has likely been triggered by an evolutionary key innovation in the form of the emergence of antifreeze glycoproteins. Here, we test, using a novel time-calibrated phylogeny of 49 species and five traits that characterize notothenioid body size and shape as well as buoyancy adaptations and habitat preferences, whether the notothenioid adaptive radiation is compatible with an early burst scenario. Extensive Bayesian model comparison shows that phylogenetic age estimates are highly dependent on model choice and that models with unlinked gene trees are generally better supported and result in younger age estimates. We find strong evidence for elevated diversification rates in Antarctic notothenioids compared to outgroups, yet no sign of rate heterogeneity in the course of the radiation, except that the notothenioid family Artedidraconidae appears to show secondarily elevated diversification rates. We further observe an early burst in trophic morphology, suggesting that the notothenioid radiation proceeds in stages similar to other prominent examples of adaptive radiation.
Project description:Geckos of the genus Pachydactylus and their close relatives comprise the most species-rich clade of lizards in sub-Saharan Africa. Many explanations have been offered to explain species richness patterns of clades. In the Pachydactylus group, one possible explanation is a history of diversification via geographic isolation. If geographic isolation has played a key role in facilitating diversification, then we expect species in more species-rich subclades to have smaller ranges than species in less diverse subclades. We also expect traits promoting geographic isolation to be correlated with small geographic ranges. In order to test these expectations, we performed phylogenetic analyses and tested for correlations among body size, habitat choice, range sizes, and diversification rates in the Pachydactylus group.Both body size and habitat use are inferred to have shifted multiple times across the phylogeny of the Pachydactylus group, with large size and generalist habitat use being ancestral for the group. Geographic range size is correlated with both of these traits. Small-bodied species have more restricted ranges than large-bodied species, and rock-dwelling species have more restricted ranges than either terrestrial or generalist species. Rock-dwelling and small body size are also associated with higher rates of diversification, and subclades retaining ancestral conditions for these traits are less species rich than subclades in which shifts to small body size and rocky habitat use have occurred. The phylogeny also illustrates inadequacies of the current taxonomy of the group.The results are consistent with a model in which lineages more likely to become geographically isolated diversify to a greater extent, although some patterns also resemble those expected of an adaptive radiation in which ecological divergence acts as a driver of speciation. Therefore, the Pachydactylus group may represent an intermediate between clades in which radiation is adaptive versus those in which it is non-adaptive.