Evolutionary Biology Online Journal Club


Season 2, Meeting 5: The Genetics of Speciation

On Monday the 1st of April, at 16:30 EST, we’ll be discussing some elements of the genetics involved in the speciation process between two flycatcher species (not an April Fool’s joke, I promise).

After the last meeting, I looked for papers that explained the genetics of speciation in a relatively simple and clear language, all the while focusing on one example. From this search comes the following review:

Saetre, G.-P., & Saetre, S. A. (2010). Ecology and genetics of speciation in Ficedula flycatchers. Molecular Ecology, 19, 1091-1106. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2010.04568.x

The authors first explain why the pied and collared flycatchers provide an interesting study model. Then, they go on to answering the question of “what is keeping them apart and how did such barriers evolve” (even though they do hybridize in some areas of their distribution) by describing the various genetic factors that reduce the gene flow between the two species.

As an optional read, here is a more recent paper, which was suggested by Rafael, on the genomic landscape of species divergence in the same birds:

Ellegren et al. [there’s just too darn many authors] (2012). Genomic landscape of species divergence in Ficedula flycatchers. Nature, 491, 756-760. doi:10.1038/nature11584

Screen shot 2013-03-29 at 16.13.31


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Season 2, Meeting 4: Ecological Speciation

Join us Monday, March 18th at  4:30pm EST

Ecological speciation is a surprisingly broad topic (by which I mean picking a paper wasn’t as easy as I thought it might be…).  Schluter (2009, Science) argues there is good reason for this, as he categorizes all speciation events into only two broad categories: mutation-order and ecological.  Given that ecological speciation can just be thought of as “divergence [that] is driven by divergent natural selection between environments” (Schluter 2009), I thought it might be useful to consider a variety of mechanisms of selective reproductive isolation, or ecological speciation.  One obvious one of course is geographic reproductive isolation, which we discussed in Meeting 3, The Geography of Speciation.  So I chose a paper by Andrew Hendry, Patrick Nosil, and Loren Rieseberg, which I think does a pretty good job of providing not only different mechanisms of ecological speciation, but covers a variety of taxa, all from the premise that “adaptation to new ecological environments can cause the contemporary evolution of reproductive isolation” (Hendry, Nosil and Rieseberg, 2007).  I hope this leads to an interesting discussion!  Below is a link to the discussion paper, as well as to two other interesting review papers on ecological speciation by Schluter (2009) and Rundle and Nosil (2005), in case you have that elusive ‘extra’ time. If you have even more extra time, there was a whole special issue on ecological speciation in the International Journal of Ecology in 2012, also linked below. Hope to see lots of you on Monday!

The paper we will be discussing:

Hendry, A. P., Nosil, P. and Rieseberg, L.H. 2007. The speed of ecological speciation. Functional Ecology, 21(3): 455-464. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2007.01240.x

Other papers that may be of interest:

Schluter, D. 2009. Evidence for Ecological Speciation and Its Alternative. Science, 323(5915): 737-741. DOI: 10.1126/science.1160006

Rundle, H.D. and Nosil, P. 2005. Ecological Speciation. Ecology Letters, 8(3):336-352. DOI: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2004.00715.x

Special issue on Ecological Speciation, in the International Journal of Ecology (2012)


As usual, our meeting will be in Google+ hangouts, so here are a couple useful resources:

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Reading for next meeting (March 4th)

Hey everyone,

sorry for the super short notice, but hopefully we can still get to read them before the meeting next Monday, march 4th at 4:30PM. (if it’s too short notice, let me know and we can transfer it to next week).

The readings this week will be on the geography of speciation, and were chosen by David Winter, but I will be leading the discussion. They are two not-too-long papers that work well together. I would like to suggest we focus on the second one, but it references the first one considerably in making its argument, so let’s try to read and discuss them both:

FITZPATRICK, B. M., FORDYCE, J. A. and GAVRILETS, S. (2008) What, if anything, is sympatric speciation?. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 21: 1452–1459.

MALLET, J., MEYER, A., NOSIL, P. and FEDER, J. L. (2009) Space, sympatry and speciation. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 22: 2332–2341.

Again, sorry for the short notice, but I hope to see you all in a couple days!