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      The Role of Parasitism in Adaptive Radiations—When Might Parasites Promote and When Might They Constrain Ecological Speciation?

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      International Journal of Ecology

      Hindawi Limited

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          Abstract

          Research on speciation and adaptive radiation has flourished during the past decades, yet factors underlying initiation of reproductive isolation often remain unknown. Parasites represent important selective agents and have received renewed attention in speciation research. We review the literature on parasite-mediated divergent selection in context of ecological speciation and present empirical evidence for three nonexclusive mechanisms by which parasites might facilitate speciation: reduced viability or fecundity of immigrants and hybrids, assortative mating as a pleiotropic by-product of host adaptation, and ecologically-based sexual selection. We emphasise the lack of research on speciation continuums, which is why no study has yet made a convincing case for parasite driven divergent evolution to initiate the emergence of reproductive isolation. We also point interest towards selection imposed by single versus multiple parasite species, conceptually linking this to strength and multifariousness of selection. Moreover, we discuss how parasites, by manipulating behaviour or impairing sensory abilities of hosts, may change the form of selection that underlies speciation. We conclude that future studies should consider host populations at variable stages of the speciation process, and explore recurrent patterns of parasitism and resistance that could pinpoint the role of parasites in imposing the divergent selection that initiates ecological speciation.

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          Butterflies and Plants: A Study in Coevolution

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            Widespread parallel evolution in sticklebacks by repeated fixation of Ectodysplasin alleles.

            Major phenotypic changes evolve in parallel in nature by molecular mechanisms that are largely unknown. Here, we use positional cloning methods to identify the major chromosome locus controlling armor plate patterning in wild threespine sticklebacks. Mapping, sequencing, and transgenic studies show that the Ectodysplasin (EDA) signaling pathway plays a key role in evolutionary change in natural populations and that parallel evolution of stickleback low-plated phenotypes at most freshwater locations around the world has occurred by repeated selection of Eda alleles derived from an ancestral low-plated haplotype that first appeared more than two million years ago. Members of this clade of low-plated alleles are present at low frequencies in marine fish, which suggests that standing genetic variation can provide a molecular basis for rapid, parallel evolution of dramatic phenotypic change in nature.
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              Phenotypic plasticity's impacts on diversification and speciation.

              Phenotypic plasticity (the ability of a single genotype to produce multiple phenotypes in response to variation in the environment) is commonplace. Yet its evolutionary significance remains controversial, especially in regard to whether and how it impacts diversification and speciation. Here, we review recent theory on how plasticity promotes: (i) the origin of novel phenotypes, (ii) divergence among populations and species, (iii) the formation of new species and (iv) adaptive radiation. We also discuss the latest empirical support for each of these evolutionary pathways to diversification and identify potentially profitable areas for future research. Generally, phenotypic plasticity can play a largely underappreciated role in driving diversification and speciation. Copyright (c) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                International Journal of Ecology
                International Journal of Ecology
                Hindawi Limited
                1687-9708
                1687-9716
                2012
                2012
                : 2012
                :
                : 1-20
                Article
                10.1155/2012/280169
                © 2012

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