Climate niche differentiation between two passerines despite ongoing gene flow

Pei Jen L. Shaner, Tzu Hsuan Tsao, Rong Chien Lin, Wei Liang, Chia Fen Yeh, Xiao Jun Yang, Fu Min Lei, Fang Zhou, Can Chao Yang, Le Manh Hung, Yu Cheng Hsu, Shou Hsien Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Niche evolution underpins the generation and maintenance of biological diversity, but niche conservatism, in which niches remain little changed over time in closely related taxa, and the role of ecology in niche evolution are continually debated. To test whether climate niches are conserved in two closely related passerines in East Asia - the vinous-throated (Paradoxornis webbianus) and ashy-throated (P. alphonsianus) parrotbills - we established their potential allopatric and sympatric regions using ecological niche models and compared differences in their climate niches using niche overlap indices in background tests and multivariate statistical analyses. We also used polymorphism data on 44 nuclear genes to infer their divergence demography. We found that these two parrotbills occupy different climate niches, in both their allopatric and potential sympatric regions. Because the potential sympatric region is the area predicted to be suitable for both parrotbills based on the ecological niche models, it can serve as a natural common garden. Therefore, their observed niche differences in this potential sympatry were not simply rendered by phenotypic plasticity and probably had a genetic basis. Our genetic analyses revealed that the two parrotbills are not evolutionarily independent for the most recent part of their divergence history. The two parrotbills diverged c. 856 000 years ago and have had substantial gene flow since a presumed secondary contact c. 290 000 years ago. This study provides an empirical case demonstrating that climate niches may not be homogenized in nascent species in spite of substantial, ongoing gene flow, which in turn suggests a role for ecology in promoting and maintaining diversification among incipient species. This study provides an empirical case demonstrating that climate niches may not be homogenized in nascent species in spite of substantial, ongoing gene flow, which in turn suggests a role for ecology in promoting and maintaining diversification among incipient species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)829-839
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Animal Ecology
Volume84
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015 May 1

    Fingerprint

Keywords

  • Divergence with gene flow
  • Ecological niche modelling
  • Niche evolution
  • Parapatry
  • Secondary contact
  • Speciation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

Cite this

Shaner, P. J. L., Tsao, T. H., Lin, R. C., Liang, W., Yeh, C. F., Yang, X. J., Lei, F. M., Zhou, F., Yang, C. C., Hung, L. M., Hsu, Y. C., & Li, S. H. (2015). Climate niche differentiation between two passerines despite ongoing gene flow. Journal of Animal Ecology, 84(3), 829-839. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.12331