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, 165 (4), 495-504

Common Garden and Natural Selection Experiments Support Ecotypic Differentiation in the Dominican Anole (Anolis Oculatus)

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Common Garden and Natural Selection Experiments Support Ecotypic Differentiation in the Dominican Anole (Anolis Oculatus)

Roger S Thorpe et al. Am Nat.

Abstract

The theory behind ecotypic differentiation and ecological speciation assumes a predominant role for natural selection working on characteristics with genetic variance, but experimental support for these assumptions is limited. Lesser Antillean anoles show marked ecotypic variation within islands and the potential for ecological speciation. Common garden rearing experiments on the Dominican anole (Anolis oculatus) suggest that the characters showing geographic variation have genetic variance and are not primarily determined by environmental plasticity. Replicated natural selection experiments using large-scale enclosures show that translocated montane samples experience significant (multivariate) directional selection in both wet and dry seasons in both males and females. The targets of selection appear to be spread among the various character systems. An experiment on 12 geographically segregated populations along a coastal xeric-montane rainforest gradient (four replicate enclosures) clearly showed that the magnitude of the directional selection intensity is positively related to the position along this gradient. The results of the common garden and natural selection experiments support the interpretation that the geographic differentiation is primarily driven by natural selection and are compatible with the potential for ecological speciation in this system.

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