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Title: Evolutionarily labile dispersal behavior and discontinuous habitats enhance population differentiation in island versus continentally distributed swallows
The causes of population divergence in vagile groups remain a paradox in evolutionary biology: dispersive species should be able to colonize new areas, a prerequisite for allopatric speciation, but dispersal also facilitates gene flow, which erodes population differentiation. Strong dispersal ability has been suggested to enhance divergence in patchy habitats and inhibit divergence in continuous landscapes, but empirical support for this hypothesis is lacking. Here we compared patterns of population divergence in a dispersive clade of swallows distributed across both patchy and continuous habitats. The Pacific Swallow (Hirundo tahitica) has an insular distribution throughout Southeast Asia and the Pacific, while its sister species, the Welcome Swallow (H. neoxena), has a continental distribution in Australia. We used whole-genome data to demonstrate strong genetic structure and limited introgression among insular populations, but not among continental populations. Demographic models show that historic changes in habitat connectivity have contributed to population structure within the clade. Swallows appear to exhibit evolutionarily labile dispersal behavior in which they reduce dispersal propensity after island colonization despite retaining strong flight ability. Our data support the hypothesis that fragmented habitats enhance population differentiation in vagile groups, and suggest that labile dispersal behavior is a key mechanism underlying this pattern.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Huang, Jen-Pan; Zelditch, Miriam
Publisher / Repository:
Oxford Academic
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Page Range / eLocation ID:
2656 to 2671
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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