Evolutionary Biology Online Journal Club

Season 2, Meeting 4: Ecological Speciation

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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:


One thought on “Season 2, Meeting 4: Ecological Speciation

  1. Ecological speciation through ecologically dependent sexual selection may be the most common way animals speciate. This may be the case of visual perception in taxa such as invertebrates like insects, crustacea, other arthropods, cephalopods, and others; vertebrates like fish, reptiles, birds, amphibians, mammals. The rate or speed of ecological speciation may be quite rapid in animals with high intelligence, such may be the case in cichlids. Niche construction may have an important process in eco-speciation where habitat isolation and sensory drive could increase reinforcement. In this sense developmental-phenotypic plasticity and epigenetic variation can a contributing factor. This article made me think further adout this.

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