50 research outputs found

    Data from: Adaptive divergence in Darwin's small ground finch (Geospiza fuliginosa): divergent selection along a cline

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    We examine here, in a single year (2005), phenotypic divergence along a 560-m elevation gradient in Darwin's small ground finch (Geospiza fuliginosa) in the Galápagos Islands. In this sample, four composite measures of phenotypic traits showed significant differences along the 18-km geographical cline extending from lowlands to highlands. Compared with lowland birds, highland birds had larger and more pointed beaks, and thicker tarsi, but smaller feet and claws. Finches in an intervening agricultural zone had predominantly intermediate trait values. In a second, mark–recapture study we analyse selection on morphological traits among birds recaptured across years (2000–2005) in lowland and highland habitats. Birds were more likely to survive in the highlands and during the wet season, as well as if they had large beaks and bodies. In addition, highland birds exhibited higher survival rates if they had small feet and pointed beaks – attributes common to highland birds as a whole. Lowland birds were more likely to survive if they possessed the opposite traits. Selection therefore reinforced existing morphological divergence, which appears to reflect local adaptation to differing resources during the predominantly drought-ridden conditions that characterized the 5-year study. Alternative explanations – including genetic drift, matching habitat choice, deformation by parasites, and the effects of wear – received little or no support

    The Psychiatrist and the Myth of the Healer *

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    Data from: Panmixia supports divergence with gene flow in Darwin’s small ground finch, Geospiza fuliginosa, on Santa Cruz, Galápagos Islands

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    The divergence-with-gene-flow model of speciation has a strong theoretical basis with a growing number of plausible examples in nature, but remains hotly debated. Darwin’s finches of the Galápagos Archipelago have played an important role in our understanding of speciation processes. Recent studies suggest that this group may also provide insights into speciation via divergence with gene flow. On the island of Santa Cruz, recent studies found evidence for adaptive divergence in Darwin’s small ground finch, Geospiza fuliginosa, between ecologically contrasting arid and humid zones. Despite the short geographical distance between these zones, strong disruptive selection during low rainfall periods is expected to generate and maintain adaptive divergence. Conversely, during high rainfall periods, when disruptive selection is predicted to be weakened, population divergence in adaptive traits is expected to break down. Because periods of low and high rainfall irregularly alternate, the geographical pattern of adaptive divergence can be assumed to break down and, importantly, regenerate in situ. Here, we use microsatellite allele frequency data to assess the genetic population structure of G. fuliginosa on Santa Cruz. We sample 21 sites and four ecological zones across the island. We reject hypotheses of population substructure linked to ecological and geographical differences among sites in favour of a single panmictic population. Panmixia implies high levels of gene flow within Santa Cruz, which favours selection over genetic drift as a valid process generating phenotypic divergence in G. fuliginosa on Santa Cruz. We discuss how our findings may support classic adaptation, phenotypic plasticity, matching habitat choice or any combination of these three processes