skip to main content

Title: The role of hybridization during ecological divergence of southwestern white pine ( Pinus strobiformis ) and limber pine ( P. flexilis )

Interactions between extrinsic factors, such as disruptive selection and intrinsic factors, such as genetic incompatibilities among loci, often contribute to the maintenance of species boundaries. The relative roles of these factors in the establishment of reproductive isolation can be examined using species pairs characterized by gene flow throughout their divergence history. We investigated the process of speciation and the maintenance of species boundaries betweenPinus strobiformisandPinus flexilis. Utilizing ecological niche modelling, demographic modelling and genomic cline analyses, we illustrated a divergence history with continuous gene flow. Our results supported an abundance of advanced generation hybrids and a lack of loci exhibiting steep transition in allele frequency across the hybrid zone. Additionally, we found evidence for climate‐associated variation in the hybrid index and niche divergence between parental species and the hybrid zone. These results are consistent with extrinsic factors, such as climate, being an important isolating mechanism. A build‐up of intrinsic incompatibilities and of coadapted gene complexes is also apparent, although these appear to be in the earliest stages of development. This supports previous work in coniferous species demonstrating the importance of extrinsic factors in facilitating speciation. Overall, our findings lend support to the hypothesis that varying strength and direction of selection pressures across the long lifespans of conifers, in combination with their other life history traits, delays the evolution of strong intrinsic incompatibilities.

more » « less
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Molecular Ecology
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 1245-1260
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Summary

    Multispecies interbreeding networks, or syngameons, have been increasingly reported in natural systems. However, the formation, structure, and maintenance of syngameons have received little attention. Through gene flow, syngameons can increase genetic diversity, facilitate the colonization of new environments, and contribute to hybrid speciation.

    In this study, we evaluated the history, patterns, and consequences of hybridization in a pinyon pine syngameon using morphological and genomic data to assess genetic structure, demographic history, and geographic and climatic data to determine niche differentiation.

    We demonstrated thatPinus edulis, a dominant species in the Southwestern US and a barometer of climate change, is a core participant in the syngameon, involved in the formation of two drought‐adapted hybrid lineages including the parapatric and taxonomically controversialfallax‐type. We found that species remain morphologically and genetically distinct at range cores, maintaining species boundaries while undergoing extensive gene flow in areas of sympatry at range peripheries.

    Our study shows that sequential hybridization may have caused relatively rapid speciation and facilitated the colonization of different niches, resulting in the rapid formation of two new lineages. Participation in the syngameon may allow adaptive traits to be introgressed across species barriers and provide the changes needed to survive future climate scenarios.

    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Hybrid zones are important windows into the evolutionary dynamics of populations, revealing how processes like introgression and adaptation structure population genomic variation. Importantly, they are useful for understanding speciation and how species respond to their environments. Here, we investigate two closely related sea star species,Asterias rubensandA. forbesi, distributed along rocky European and North American coastlines of the North Atlantic, and use genome‐wide molecular markers to infer the distribution of genomic variation within and between species in this group. Using genomic data and environmental niche modelling, we document hybridization occurring between northern New England and the southern Canadian Maritimes. We investigate the factors that maintain this hybrid zone, as well as the environmental variables that putatively drive selection within and between species. We find that the two species differ in their environmental niche breadth;Asterias forbesidisplays a relatively narrow environmental niche while conversely,A. rubenshas a wider niche breadth. Species distribution models accurately predict hybrids to occur within environmental niche overlap, thereby suggesting environmental selection plays an important role in the maintenance of the hybrid zone. Our results imply that the distribution of genomic variation in North Atlantic sea stars is influenced by the environment, which will be crucial to consider as the climate changes.

    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Speciation is the result of an accumulation of reproductive barriers between populations, but pinpointing the factors involved is often difficult. However, hybrid zones can form when these barriers are not complete, especially when lineages come into contact in intermediate or modified habitats. We examine a hybrid zone between two closely related riverine turtle species,Sternotherus depressusandS. peltifer, and use dual‐digest RAD sequencing to understand how this hybrid zone formed and elucidate genomic patterns of reproductive isolation. First, the geographical extent and timing of formation of the hybrid zone is established to provide context for understanding the role of extrinsic and intrinsic reproductive isolating mechanisms in this system. The strength of selection on taxon‐specific contributions to maintenance of the hybrid zone is then inferred using a Bayesian genomic cline model. These analyses identify a role for selection inhibiting introgression in some genomic regions at one end of the hybrid zone and promoting introgression in many loci at the other. When selective pressures necessary to generate outliers to the genomic cline are considered with the geographical and temporal context of this hybrid zone, we conclude that habitat‐specific selection probably limits introgression fromS. depressustoS. peltiferin the direction of river flow. However, selection is mediating rapid, unidirectional introgression fromS. peltifertoS. depressus, which is probably facilitated by anthropogenic habitat alteration. These findings indicate a potentially imminent threat of population‐level genomic extinction for an already imperiled species due to ongoing human‐caused habitat alteration.

    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Mitochondria have been known to be involved in speciation through the generation of Dobzhansky–Muller incompatibilities, where functionally neutral co-evolution between mitochondrial and nuclear genomes can cause dysfunction when alleles are recombined in hybrids. We propose that adaptive mitochondrial divergence between populations can not only produce intrinsic (Dobzhansky–Muller) incompatibilities, but could also contribute to reproductive isolation through natural and sexual selection against migrants, post-mating prezygotic isolation, as well as by causing extrinsic reductions in hybrid fitness. We describe how these reproductive isolating barriers can potentially arise through adaptive divergence of mitochondrial function in the absence of mito-nuclear coevolution, a departure from more established views. While a role for mitochondria in the speciation process appears promising, we also highlight critical gaps of knowledge: (1) many systems with a potential for mitochondrially-mediated reproductive isolation lack crucial evidence directly linking reproductive isolation and mitochondrial function; (2) it often remains to be seen if mitochondrial barriers are a driver or a consequence of reproductive isolation; (3) the presence of substantial gene flow in the presence of mito-nuclear incompatibilities raises questions whether such incompatibilities are strong enough to drive speciation to completion; and (4) it remains to be tested how mitochondrial effects on reproductive isolation compare when multiple mechanisms of reproductive isolation coincide. We hope this perspective and the proposed research plans help to inform future studies of mitochondrial adaptation in a manner that links genotypic changes to phenotypic adaptations, fitness, and reproductive isolation in natural systems, helping to clarify the importance of mitochondria in the formation and maintenance of biological diversity.

    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    The evolution of postzygotic isolation is thought to be a key step in maintaining species boundaries upon secondary contact, yet the dynamics and persistence of hybrid incompatibilities in naturally hybridizing species are not well understood. Here, we explore these issues using genetic mapping in three independent populations of recombinant inbred lines between naturally hybridizing monkeyflowers,Mimulus guttatusandMimulus nasutus,from the sympatric Catherine Creek population. We discover that the threeM. guttatusfounders differ dramatically in admixture history, with nearly a quarter of one founder's genome introgressed fromM. nasutus. Comparative genetic mapping in the three RIL populations reveals three new putative inversions, each one segregating among theM. guttatusfounders, two due to admixture. We find strong, genome‐wide transmission ratio distortion in all RILs, but patterns are highly variable among the three populations. At least some of this distortion appears to be explained by epistatic selection favouring parental genotypes, but tests of inter‐chromosomal linkage disequilibrium also reveal multiple candidate Dobzhansky‐Muller incompatibilities. We also map several genetic loci for hybrid pollen viability, including two interacting pairs that coincide with peaks of distortion. Remarkably, even with this limited sample of threeM. guttatuslines, we discover abundant segregating variation for hybrid incompatibilities withM. nasutus,suggesting this population harbours diverse contributors to postzygotic isolation. Moreover, even with substantial admixture, hybrid incompatibilities betweenMimulusspecies persist, suggesting postzygotic isolation might be a potent force in maintaining species barriers in this system.

    more » « less