Refining the conditions for sympatric ecological speciation

Authors

  • F. Débarre

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biological Sciences, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID, USA
    • Department of Zoology & Biodiversity Research Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
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  • Data deposited at Dryad: doi:10.5061/dryad.kv3k3

Correspondence: Florence Débarre, Department of Zoology & Biodiversity Research Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada and Department of Biological Sciences, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844, USA.

Tel.: +1 604 822 0862; fax: +1 604 822 2416; e-mail: florence.debarre@normalesup.org

Abstract

Can speciation occur in a single population when different types of resources are available, in the absence of any geographical isolation, or any spatial or temporal variation in selection? The controversial topics of sympatric speciation and ecological speciation have already stimulated many theoretical studies, most of them agreeing on the fact that mechanisms generating disruptive selection, some level of assortment, and enough heterogeneity in the available resources, are critical for sympatric speciation to occur. Few studies, however, have combined the three factors and investigated their interactions. In this article, I analytically derive conditions for sympatric speciation in a general model where the distribution of resources can be uni- or bimodal, and where a parameter controls the range of resources that an individual can exploit. This approach bridges the gap between models of a unimodal continuum of resources and Levene-type models with discrete resources. I then test these conditions against simulation results from a recently published article (Thibert-Plante & Hendry, 2011, J. Evol. Biol. 24: 2186–2196) and confirm that sympatric ecological speciation is favoured when (i) selection is disruptive (i.e. individuals with an intermediate trait are at a local fitness minimum), (ii) resources are differentiated enough and (iii) mating is assortative. I also discuss the role of mating preference functions and the need (or lack thereof) for bimodality in resource distributions for diversification.

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