skip to main content


This content will become publicly available on September 11, 2024

Title: Evidence of introgression, ecological divergence and adaptation in Asterias sea stars
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
Award ID(s):
1737091
NSF-PAR ID:
10468887
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
Wiley-Blackwell
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Molecular Ecology
Volume:
32
Issue:
20
ISSN:
0962-1083
Format(s):
Medium: X Size: p. 5541-5557
Size(s):
p. 5541-5557
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. 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.

     
    more » « less
  2. Organisms exhibit extensive variation in ecological niche breadth, from very narrow (specialists) to very broad (generalists). Two general paradigms have been proposed to explain this variation: trade-offs between performance efficiency and breadth; and the joint influence of extrinsic (environmental) and intrinsic (genomic) factors. We assembled genomic, metabolic, and ecological data from nearly all known species of the ancient fungal subphylum Saccharomycotina (1,154 yeast strains from 1,051 species), grown in 24 different environmental conditions, to examine niche breadth evolution. We found that large differences in the breadth of carbon utilization traits between yeasts stem from intrinsic differences in genes encoding specific metabolic pathways, but limited evidence for trade-offs. These comprehensive data argue that intrinsic factors shape niche breadth variation in microbes. 
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Identifying areas of high evolutionary potential is a judicious strategy for developing conservation priorities in the face of environmental change. For wide‐ranging species occupying heterogeneous environments, the evolutionary forces that shape distinct populations can vary spatially. Here, we investigate patterns of genomic variation and genotype–environment associations in the hermit thrush (Catharus guttatus), a North American songbird, at broad (across the breeding range) and narrow spatial scales (at a hybrid zone). We begin by building a genoscape or map of genetic variation across the breeding range and find five distinct genetic clusters within the species, with the greatest variation occurring in the western portion of the range. Genotype–environment association analyses indicate higher allelic turnover in the west than in the east, with measures of temperature surfacing as key predictors of putative adaptive genomic variation rangewide. Since broad patterns detected across a species' range represent the aggregate of many locally adapted populations, we investigate whether our broadscale analysis is consistent with a finer scale analysis. We find that top rangewide temperature‐associated loci vary in their clinal patterns (e.g., steep clines vs. fixed allele frequencies) across a hybrid zone in British Columbia, suggesting that the environmental predictors and the associated candidate loci identified in the rangewide analysis are of variable importance in this particular region. However, two candidate loci exhibit strong concordance with the temperature gradient in British Columbia, suggesting a potential role for temperature‐related barriers to gene flow and/or temperature‐driven ecological selection in maintaining putative local adaptation. This study demonstrates how patterns identified at the broad (macrogeographic) scale can be validated by investigating genotype–environment correlations at the local (microgeographic) scale. Furthermore, our results highlight the importance of considering the spatial distribution of putative adaptive variation when assessing population‐level sensitivity to climate change and other stressors.

     
    more » « less
  4. Abstract Aim

    Ecological niches shape species commonness and rarity, yet, the relative importance of different niche mechanisms within and across ecosystems remains unresolved. We tested the influence of niche breadth (range of environmental conditions where species occur) and niche position (marginality of a species’ environmental distribution relative to the mean environmental conditions of a region) on tree‐species abundance and occupancy across three biogeographic regions.

    Location

    Argentinian Andes; Bolivian Amazon; Missouri Ozarks.

    Time period

    2002–2010.

    Major taxa studied

    Trees.

    Methods

    We calculated abiotic‐niche breadths and abiotic‐niche positions using 16 climate, soil and topographic variables. For each region, we used model selection to test the relative influence of niche breadth and niche position on local abundance and occupancy in regional‐scale networks of 0.1‐ha forest plots. To account for species–environment associations caused by other mechanisms (e.g., dispersal), we used null models that randomized associations between species occurrences and environmental variables.

    Results

    We found strong support for the niche‐position hypothesis. In all regions, species with higher local abundance and occupancy occurred in non‐marginal environments. Observed relationships between occupancy and niche position also differed from random species–environment associations in all regions. Surprisingly, we found little support for the niche‐breadth hypothesis. Observed relationships between both local abundance and niche breadth, and occupancy and niche breadth, did not differ from random species–environment associations.

    Main conclusion

    Niche position was more important than niche breadth in shaping species commonness and rarity across temperate, sub‐tropical and tropical forests. In all forests, tree species with widespread geographic distributions were associated with environmental conditions commonly found throughout the region, suggesting that niche position has similar effects on species occupancy across contrasting biogeographic regions. Our findings imply that conservation efforts aimed at protecting populations of common and rare tree species should prioritize conservation of both common and rare habitats.

     
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    The North American racers (Coluber constrictor) are widely distributed across the Nearctic and numerous studies have demonstrated extensive variation in morphology, ecology, and population genetic structure. Here we take an integrative approach to understand lineage diversification within this taxon by combining genomic sequence capture data, mtDNA sequence data, morphometrics, and ecological niche models. Both the genomic data and mtDNA phylogeographic analyses support five lineages distributed across the range of this species. However, demographic model selection based on these two datasets strongly conflict in both the model of divergence and estimates of timing of lineage divergence. While mtDNA and concatenated genomic data suggest a Miocene origin of these distinct groups, coalescent-based demographic models with the sequence capture data suggest lineage diversification occurred at ~33 kya in allopatry without gene flow. Using linear morphological measurements of head shape we demonstrate that lineages distributed largely east and west of the Mississippi River are distinguishable. Furthermore, ecological niche models demonstrate that lineages distributed in subtropical habitats have environmental niche space that is significantly differentiated from lineages distributed across the continent. Taken together, these results suggest that ecology is an important axis of lineage divergence within this group and that more fine-scale analyses may find even greater differentiation between the populations identified here. This abstract translated to Spanish is avaliable in the Supporting Infromation section (Este resumen traducido al español está disponible en la sección, Supporting Infromation).

     
    more » « less