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  1. Abstract

    Multivariate adaptation to climatic shifts may be limited by trait integration that causes genetic variation to be low in the direction of selection. However, strong episodes of selection induced by extreme climatic pressures may facilitate future population-wide responses if selection reduces trait integration and increases adaptive potential (i.e., evolvability). We explain this counter-intuitive framework for extreme climatic events in which directional selection leads to increased evolvability and exemplify its use in a case study. We tested this hypothesis in two populations of the lizard Anolis scriptus that experienced hurricane-induced selection on limb traits. We surveyed populations immediately before and after the hurricane as well as the offspring of post-hurricane survivors, allowing us to estimate both selection and response to selection on key functional traits: forelimb length, hindlimb length, and toepad area. The direct selection was parallel in both islands and strong in several limb traits. Even though overall limb integration did not change after the hurricane, both populations showed a non-significant tendency toward increased evolvability after the hurricane despite the direction of selection not being aligned with the axis of most variance (i.e., body size). The population with comparably lower between-limb integration showed a less constrained response to selection. Hurricane-induced selection, not aligned with the pattern of high trait correlations, likely conflicts with selection occurring during normal ecological conditions that favours functional coordination between limb traits, and would likely need to be very strong and more persistent to elicit a greater change in trait integration and evolvability. Future tests of this hypothesis should use G-matrices in a variety of wild organisms experiencing selection due to extreme climatic events.


    We surveyed populations of A. scriptus lizards, in two islands, before the hurricane, after the hurricane (estimate of survivors) and the offspring almost two years later. We hypothesized that the direction of hurricane-induced selection would be to reduce between-limb trait correlations, resulting in higher variation in the direction of selection (higher evolvability). We found that selection had a similar direction in both populations, but was likely not strong or persistent enough to change trait correlations. However, the population with lower limb trait correlations showed a response to selection more aligned with the direction of selection. Finally, both populations showed a tendency to increase evolvability after the hurricane.

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  2. Abstract

    Rapid technological improvements are democratizing access to high quality, chromosome-scale genome assemblies. No longer the domain of only the most highly studied model organisms, now non-traditional and emerging model species can be genome-enabled using a combination of sequencing technologies and assembly software. Consequently, old ideas built on sparse sampling across the tree of life have recently been amended in the face of genomic data drawn from a growing number of high-quality reference genomes. Arguably the most valuable are those long-studied species for which much is already known about their biology; what many term emerging model species. Here, we report a highly complete chromosome-scale genome assembly for the brown anole,Anolis sagrei– a lizard species widely studied across a variety of disciplines and for which a high-quality reference genome was long overdue. This assembly exceeds the vast majority of existing reptile and snake genomes in contiguity (N50 = 253.6 Mb) and annotation completeness. Through the analysis of this genome and population resequence data, we examine the history of repetitive element accumulation, identify the X chromosome, and propose a hypothesis for the evolutionary history of fusions between autosomes and the X that led to the sex chromosomes ofA. sagrei.

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  3. Oceanic islands are known as test tubes of evolution. Isolated and colonized by relatively few species, islands are home to many of nature’s most renowned radiations from the finches of the Galápagos to the silverswords of the Hawaiian Islands. Despite the evolutionary exuberance of insular life, island occupation has long been thought to be irreversible. In particular, the presumed much tougher competitive and predatory milieu in continental settings prevents colonization, much less evolutionary diversification, from islands back to mainlands. To test these predictions, we examined the ecological and morphological diversity of neotropicalAnolislizards, which originated in South America, colonized and radiated on various islands in the Caribbean, and then returned and diversified on the mainland. We focus in particular on what happens when mainland and island evolutionary radiations collide. We show that extensive continental radiations can result from island ancestors and that the incumbent and invading mainland clades achieve their ecological and morphological disparity in very different ways. Moreover, we show that when a mainland radiation derived from island ancestors comes into contact with an incumbent mainland radiation the ensuing interactions favor the island-derived clade.

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  6. Abstract

    Animal signals evolve in an ecological context. Locally adapting animal sexual signals can be especially important for initiating or reinforcing reproductive isolation during the early stages of speciation. Previous studies have demonstrated that dewlap colour inAnolislizards can be highly variable between populations in relation to both biotic and abiotic adaptive drivers at relatively large geographical scales. Here, we investigated differentiation of dewlap colouration among habitat types at a small spatial scale, within multiple islands of the West Indies, to test the hypothesis that similar local adaptive processes occur over smaller spatial scales. We explored variation in dewlap colouration in the most widespread species of anole,Anolis sagrei, across three characteristic habitats spanning the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands, namely beach scrub, primary coppice forest and mangrove forest. Using reflectance spectrometry paired with supervised machine learning, we found significant differences in spectral properties of the dewlap between habitats within small islands, sometimes over very short distances. Passive divergence in dewlap phenotype associated with isolation‐by‐distance did not seem to explain our results. On the other hand, these habitat‐specific dewlap differences varied in magnitude and direction across islands, and thus, our primary test for adaptation—parallel responses across islands—was not supported. We suggest that neutral processes or selection could be involved in several ways, including sexual selection. Our results shed new light on the scale at which signal colour polymorphism can be maintained in the presence of gene flow, and the relative role of local adaptation and other processes in driving these patterns of dewlap colour variation across islands.

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  7. null (Ed.)
    Extreme climate events such as droughts, cold snaps, and hurricanes can be powerful agents of natural selection, producing acute selective pressures very different from the everyday pressures acting on organisms. However, it remains unknown whether these infrequent but severe disruptions are quickly erased by quotidian selective forces, or whether they have the potential to durably shape biodiversity patterns across regions and clades. Here, we show that hurricanes have enduring evolutionary impacts on the morphology of anoles, a diverse Neotropical lizard clade. We first demonstrate a transgenerational effect of extreme selection on toepad area for two populations struck by hurricanes in 2017. Given this short-term effect of hurricanes, we then asked whether populations and species that more frequently experienced hurricanes have larger toepads. Using 70 y of historical hurricane data, we demonstrate that, indeed, toepad area positively correlates with hurricane activity for both 12 island populations of Anolis sagrei and 188 Anolis species throughout the Neotropics. Extreme climate events are intensifying due to climate change and may represent overlooked drivers of biogeographic and large-scale biodiversity patterns. 
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