World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Ecological speciation

Article Id: WHEBN0041161859
Reproduction Date:

Title: Ecological speciation  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Speciation, Cline (biology), Holly, Ecology, Evolutionary biology
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Ecological speciation

European Holly (Ilex aquifolium). The genus Ilex is an example of ecological speciation.
Gasterosteus aculeatus, a documented case of ecological speciation
Centaurea solstitialis, a candidate species for incipient ecological speciation

Ecological speciation is the process by which ecologically based divergent selection between different environments leads to the creation of reproductive barriers between populations.[1] This is often the result of selection over traits which are genetically correlated to reproductive isolation, thus speciation occurs as a by-product of adaptive divergence.[2][3]

The key difference between ecological speciation and other kinds of speciation, is that it is triggered by divergent natural selection among different ecosystems, as opposed to other kinds of speciation processes, like random genetic drift, or sexual selection. Ecological speciation can occur either in allopatry or in sympatry. The only requirement being that speciation occurs as a result of adaptation to different ecological or micro-ecological conditions.[1]


Known examples of ecological speciation include three-spined stickleback fishes, distinct species of which emerged as the result to adaptation of different conditions along water depth clines in freshwater lakes.[4] Ancestors of the genus Ilex (holly) became isolated from the remaining Ilex when the Earth mass broke away into Gondwana and Laurasia about 82 million years ago, resulting in a physical separation of the groups (allopatry) and beginning a process of change to adapt to new conditions; over time survivor species of the holly genus adapted to different ecological niches. The invasive weed species Centaurea solstitialis is a candidate to be a case of incipient ecological speciation; in less than 200 years, incipient reproductive isolation appeared as a result to adaptation to different ecological conditions between native and non-native ranges.[5][6]

See also


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Behm, J. E., A. R. Ives and J. W. Boughman. 2010. "Breakdown in postmating isolation and the collapse of a species pair through hybridization" American Naturalist 175:11–26.
  5. ^ Montesinos, D., Santiago, G., & Callaway, R. M. (2012). Neo-allopatry and rapid reproductive isolation. The American Naturalist, 180(4), 529–33.
  6. ^ Graebner, R. C., Callaway, R. M., & Montesinos, D. (2012). Invasive species grows faster, competes better, and shows greater evolution toward increased seed size and growth than exotic non-invasive congeners. Plant Ecology, 213(4), 545–553.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Hawaii eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.