Now it is time to discuss one of my papers again. Together with Keith Larson and Erik Svensson, I am currently working on a paper that investigates niche divergence in Calopteryx damselflies.
Speciation in the genus Calopteryx is largely thought to be de-coupled from ecology, and reproductive isolation seems to have evolved independent of habitat ecology, through sexual selection, social interactions, learning and/or genetic incompatibilities. For this reason, ecological differences between closely related odonates are a priori expected to be relatively minor, and the modest differences that exist are likely to have evolved post-speciation, reflecting ecological divergence after reproductive isolation was already achieved. We tested these predictions using a large habitat data set for the two largely co-existing species Calopteryx splendens and C. virgo in Sweden and Finland and then employed spatial modelling techniques to identify the:
(i) environmental habitat characteristics, amount of niche overlap and degree of habitat specialisation,
(ii) combined and interactive effects of environment and predators and
(iii) ecological differences between allopatric and sympatric populations.
It will be great to discuss our findings with you next week (as usual we meet on Wednesday the 6th of October at 10:15 at the Darwin room, Lund University). Erik has also suggested to read a recent paper by John E. McCormack, Amanda J. Zellmer, and L. Lacey Knowles. Their work focused on niche divergence and its role in speciation in Mexican Jays.
I will circulate the Evolution paper by McCormack et al. (2010) and the manuscript via email. If I have not included you in the email list and you would like to read and comment on these papers, then please send an email Maren.Wellenreuther@zooekol.lu.se
I will bring fika to the next meeting.
Have fun, Maren