Spatio-temporal changes in the genetic structure of the Passerina bunting hybrid zone

Authors

  • MATTHEW D. CARLING,

    1. Fuller Evolutionary Biology Program, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 159 Sapsucker Woods Rd, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA
    2. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
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    • Present address: Department of Zoology and Physiology, Berry Biodiversity Center 4304, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 82071, USA

  • BENJAMIN ZUCKERBERG

    1. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
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Matthew D. Carling, E-mail: mcarling@uwyo.edu

Abstract

Although theoretical models predict that the structure of a hybrid zone can change under a variety of scenarios, only a few empirical studies of hybrid zones have unequivocally demonstrated zone movement. These studies are rare because few data sets exist that include repeated, temporally spaced, samples of the same hybrid zone. We analysed mitochondrial DNA haplotype data from samples separated by 40–45 years from across the Passerina amoena (Lazuli Bunting) and Passerina cyanea (Indigo Bunting) hybrid zone to investigate whether the genetic structure of this zone has changed during that interval. Both cline and generalized linear mixed modelling analyses uncovered a significant narrowing and a substantial westward shift of the Passerina bunting hybrid zone, clearly illustrating hybrid zone movement. The cause of the change may be due to a combination of ecological, demographic and behavioural factors. Our results predict that the width of the hybrid zone will continue to narrow over time, a finding consistent with reinforcement theory.

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