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Ecological Opportunity in Adaptive Radiation of Galápagos Endemic Land Snails

Christine E. Parent and Bernard J. Crespi
The American Naturalist
Vol. 174, No. 6 (December 2009), pp. 898-905
DOI: 10.1086/646604
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/646604
Page Count: 8
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Abstract

Abstract: The classic evolutionary hypothesis of ecological opportunity proposes that both heterogeneity of resources and freedom from enemies promote phenotypic divergence as a response to increased niche availability. Although phenotypic divergence and speciation have often been inferred to be the primary consequences of the release from competition or predation that accompanies a shift to a new adaptive zone, increased phenotypic variation within species is expected to represent the first stage resulting from such a shift. Using measures of intraspecific morphological variation of 30 species of Galápagos endemic land snails in a phylogenetically controlled framework, we show that the number of local congeners and the number of local plant species are associated with lower and higher intraspecific phenotypic variation, respectively. In this clade, ecological opportunity thus explicitly links the role of competition from congeners and the heterogeneity of resources to the extent of intraspecific phenotypic divergence as adaptive radiation proceeds.

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