Comparative Analyses of Ecological Speciation

Daniel J. Funk and Patrik Nosil

in Specialization, Speciation, and Radiation

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9780520251328
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520933828 | DOI:
Comparative Analyses of Ecological Speciation

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Although the contribution of natural selection to speciation was not an explicit empirical focus of most of the twentieth century, it was often assumed to be an important factor in the evolutionary diversification of lineages. A challenging task is identifying the potential contributions of ecological divergence to reproductive barriers that are not inherently ecological, including sexual isolation, cryptic postmating isolation, and intrinsic hybrid inviability. This chapter shows how particular comparative approaches can be used to identify and quantify ecological contributions to reproductive isolation and speciation, focusing on herbivorous insects. First, it discusses the nature and study of ecological speciation, and presents some advantages of evaluating herbivorous insect systems for such investigations. The chapter then describes recently developed comparative approaches that have provided insights on this topic. It also analyzes available herbivore data sets to illustrate these methods and the evidence they provide on ecology's role in herbivore speciation, highlights important issues pertaining to the conduct and interpretation of these comparative studies, and suggests future directions for advancing the multidimensional study of ecological speciation through the creative application of comparative approaches.

Keywords: ecological speciation; herbivorous insects; comparative studies; reproductive isolation; ecology; natural selection; diversification; reproductive barriers

Chapter.  15168 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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