Development and evolution of character displacement
Article first published online: 18 JAN 2012
© 2012 New York Academy of Sciences.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Volume 1256, The Year in Evolutionary Biology pages 89–107, May 2012
How to Cite
Pfennig, D. W. and Pfennig, K. S. (2012), Development and evolution of character displacement. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1256: 89–107. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2011.06381.x
- Issue published online: 14 MAY 2012
- Article first published online: 18 JAN 2012
- adaptive divergence;
- ecological developmental biology;
- genetic assimilation;
- genetics of adaptation;
- phenotypic plasticity
Character displacement occurs when competition for either resources or successful reproduction imposes divergent selection on interacting species, causing divergence in traits associated with resource use or reproduction. Here, we describe how character displacement can be mediated either by genetically canalized changes (i.e., changes that reflect allelic or genotype frequency changes) or by phenotypic plasticity. We also discuss how these two mechanisms influence the tempo of character displacement. Specifically, we suggest that, under some conditions, character displacement mediated by phenotypic plasticity might occur more rapidly than that mediated by genetically canalized changes. Finally, we describe how these two mechanisms may act together and determine character displacement's mode, such that it proceeds through an initial phase in which trait divergence is environmentally induced to a later phase in which divergence becomes genetically canalized. This plasticity-first hypothesis predicts that character displacement should be generally mediated by ancestral plasticity and that it will arise similarly in multiple, independently evolving populations. We conclude by highlighting future directions for research that would test these predictions.