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Title: Growth and defense characteristics of whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) and lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var latifolia) in a high-elevation, disturbance-prone mixed-conifer forest in northwestern Montana, USA
Award ID(s):
2029775 1539820
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Forest Ecology and Management
Page Range / eLocation ID:
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  2. Abstract

    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.

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  3. null (Ed.)