Incipient sympatric speciation in Midas cichlid fish from the youngest and one of the smallest crater lakes in Nicaragua due to differential use of the benthic and limnetic habitats?

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Comparative genomics of parallel in repeated adaptive radiations (GenAdap)
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Ecology and Evolution. 2016, 6(15), pp. 5342-5357. eISSN 2045-7758. Available under: doi: 10.1002/ece3.2287
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Understanding how speciation can occur without geographic isolation remains a central objective in evolutionary biology. Generally, some form of disruptive selection and assortative mating are necessary for sympatric speciation to occur. Disruptive selection can arise from intraspecific competition for resources. If this competition leads to the differential use of habitats and variation in relevant traits is genetically determined, then assortative mating can be an automatic consequence (i.e., habitat isolation). In this study, we caught Midas cichlid fish from the limnetic (middle of the lake) and benthic (shore) habitats of Crater Lake Asososca Managua to test whether some of the necessary conditions for sympatric speciation due to intraspecific competition and habitat isolation are given. Lake As. Managua is very small (<900 m in diameter), extremely young (maximally 1245 years of age), and completely isolated. It is inhabited by, probably, only a single endemic species of Midas cichlids, Amphilophus tolteca. We found that fish from the limnetic habitat were more elongated than fish collected from the benthic habitat, as would be predicted from ecomorphological considerations. Stable isotope analyses confirmed that the former also exhibit a more limnetic lifestyle than the latter. Furthermore, split-brood design experiments in the laboratory suggest that phenotypic plasticity is unlikely to explain much of the observed differences in body elongation that we observed in the field. Yet, neutral markers (microsatellites) did not reveal any genetic clustering in the population. Interestingly, demographic inferences based on RAD-seq data suggest that the apparent lack of genetic differentiation at neutral markers could simply be due to a lack of time, as intraspecific competition may only have begun a few hundred generations ago.

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ISO 690KAUTT, Andreas F., Gonzalo MACHADO-SCHIAFFINO, Julián TORRES-DOWDALL, Axel MEYER, 2016. Incipient sympatric speciation in Midas cichlid fish from the youngest and one of the smallest crater lakes in Nicaragua due to differential use of the benthic and limnetic habitats?. In: Ecology and Evolution. 2016, 6(15), pp. 5342-5357. eISSN 2045-7758. Available under: doi: 10.1002/ece3.2287
BibTex
@article{Kautt2016-07-01Incip-34988,
  year={2016},
  doi={10.1002/ece3.2287},
  title={Incipient sympatric speciation in Midas cichlid fish from the youngest and one of the smallest crater lakes in Nicaragua due to differential use of the benthic and limnetic habitats?},
  number={15},
  volume={6},
  journal={Ecology and Evolution},
  pages={5342--5357},
  author={Kautt, Andreas F. and Machado-Schiaffino, Gonzalo and Torres-Dowdall, Julián and Meyer, Axel}
}
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