Reproductive isolation mechanisms among four closely-related species of Conospermum (Proteaceae)



The effectiveness of geographical isolation, ecological isolation, temporal isolation, mechanical isolation, ethological isolation, cross-incompatibility, hybrid inviability, hybrid sterility and hybrid breakdown as practical barriers to gene flow in the field between Conospermum taxifolium, C. ericifolium, C. ellipticum and C. longifolium has been quantified. The barriers to gene flow between C. ericifolium and C. ellipticum are completely effective, owing to their allopatric distributions. The barriers to gene flow between C. taxifolium and these two species are only partially effective, as their ecological separation breaks down in intermediate habitats, and partially-fertile F1 plants can grow in the areas of overlap. The barriers to gene flow between C. longifolium and the other three species are almost completely effective, as cross-incompatibility is very high and the F1 plants are female-sterile.