Evidence for sympatric speciation by host shift in the sea

Munday, Philip L., van Herwerden, Lynne, and Dudgeon, Christine L. (2004) Evidence for sympatric speciation by host shift in the sea. Current Biology, 14 (16). pp. 1498-1504.

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The genetic divergence and evolution of new species within the geographic range of a single population (sympatric speciation) contrasts with the well-established doctrine that speciation occurs when populations become geographically isolated (allopatric speciation). Although there is considerable theoretical support for sympatric speciation [1] and [2], this mode of diversification remains controversial, at least in part because there are few well-supported examples [3]. We use a combination of molecular, ecological, and biogeographical data to build a case for sympatric speciation by host shift in a new species of coral-dwelling fish (genus Gobiodon). We propose that competition for preferred coral habitats drives host shifts in Gobiodon and that the high diversity of corals provides the source of novel, unoccupied habitats. Disruptive selection in conjunction with strong host fidelity could promote rapid reproductive isolation and ultimately lead to species divergence. Our hypothesis is analogous to sympatric speciation by host shift in phytophagous insects [4] and [5] except that we propose a primary role for intraspecific competition in the process of speciation. The fundamental similarity between these fishes and insects is a specialized and intimate relationship with their hosts that makes them ideal candidates for speciation by host shift.

Item ID: 6175
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-0445
Keywords: allopatric speciation; competition; host shift; sympatric speciation
Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2010 02:51
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0604 Genetics > 060409 Molecular Evolution @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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