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Journal Article

Weak Disruptive Selection and Incomplete Phenotypic Divergence in Two Classic Examples of Sympatric Speciation: Cameroon Crater Lake Cichlids

Christopher H. Martin
The American Naturalist
Vol. 180, No. 4 (October 2012), pp. E90-E109
DOI: 10.1086/667586
Stable URL:
Page Count: 20
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AbstractRecent documentation of a few compelling examples of sympatric speciation led to a proliferation of theoretical models. Unfortunately, plausible examples from nature have rarely been used to test model predictions, such as the initial presence of strong disruptive selection. Here I estimated the form and strength of selection in two classic examples of sympatric speciation: radiations of Cameroon cichlids restricted to Lakes Barombi Mbo and Ejagham. I measured five functional traits and relative growth rates in over 500 individuals within incipient species complexes from each lake. Disruptive selection was prevalent in both groups on single and multivariate trait axes but weak relative to stabilizing selection on other traits and most published estimates of disruptive selection. Furthermore, despite genetic structure, assortative mating, and bimodal species-diagnostic coloration, trait distributions were unimodal in both species complexes, indicating the earliest stages of speciation. Long waiting times or incomplete sympatric speciation may result when disruptive selection is initially weak. Alternatively, I present evidence of additional constraints in both species complexes, including weak linkage between coloration and morphology, reduced morphological variance aligned with nonlinear selection surfaces, and minimal ecological divergence. While other species within these radiations show complete phenotypic separation, morphological and ecological divergence in these species complexes may be slow or incomplete outside optimal parameter ranges, in contrast to rapid divergence of their sexual coloration.

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This item contains 129 references.

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