Genomic data reject the hypothesis of sympatric ecological speciation in a clade of Desmognathus salamanders.

TitleGenomic data reject the hypothesis of sympatric ecological speciation in a clade of Desmognathus salamanders.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
JournalEvolution; international journal of organic evolution
Volume72
Issue11
Pagination2378-2393
ISSN0014-3820
Abstract

Closely related taxa with dissimilar morphologies are often considered to have diverged via natural selection favoring different phenotypes. However, some studies have found these scenarios to be paired with limited or no genetic differentiation. Desmognathus quadramaculatus and D. marmoratus are sympatric salamander species thought to represent a case of ecological speciation based on distinct morphologies, but the results of previous studies have not resolved corresponding patterns of lineage divergence. Here, we use genome-wide data to test this hypothesis of ecological speciation. Population structure analyses partitioned individuals geographically, but not morphologically, into two adjacent regions of western North Carolina: Pisgah and Nantahala. Phylogenetic analyses confirmed the nominal species are nonmonophyletic and resolved deep divergence between the two geographic clusters. Model-testing overwhelmingly supported the hypothesis that lineage divergence followed geography. Finally, ecological niche modeling showed that Pisgah and Nantahala individuals occupy different climatic niches, and geographic boundaries for the two lineages correspond to differences in precipitation regimes across southern Appalachia. Overall, we reject the previous hypothesis of ecological speciation based on microhabitat partitioning. Instead, our results suggest that there are two cryptic lineages, each containing the same pair of morphotypes.

DOI10.1111/evo.13606
Short TitleEvolution
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