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The forces promoting and constraining speciation are often studied in theoretical models because the process is hard to observe, replicate, and manipulate in real organisms. Most models analyzed to date include pre-defined functions influencing fitness, leaving open the question of how speciation might proceed without these built-in determinants. To consider the process of speciation without pre-defined functions, we employ the individual-based ecosystem simulation platform EcoSim. The environment is initially uniform across space, and an evolving behavioural model then determines how prey consume resources and how predators consume prey. Simulations including natural selection i.e., an evolving behavioural model that influences survival and reproduction frequently led to strong and distinct phenotypic-genotypic clusters between which hybridization was low. This speciation was the result of divergence between spatially-localized clusters in the behavioural model, an emergent property of evolving ecological interactions. By contrast, simulations without natural selection i.e., behavioural model turned off but with spatial isolation i.e., limited dispersal produced weaker and overlapping clusters. Simulations without natural selection or spatial isolation i.e., behaviour model turned off and high dispersal did not generate clusters. These results confirm the role of natural selection in speciation by showing its importance even in the absence of pre-defined fitness functions.

Autor: Robin Gras , Abbas Golestani, Andrew P. Hendry, Melania E. Cristescu

Fuente: http://plos.srce.hr/


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