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Life-history divergence facilitates regional coexistence of competing Ficedula flycatchers
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Animal Ecology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Animal Ecology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Animal Ecology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Animal Ecology.
2009 (English)In: Ecology, ISSN 0012-9658, E-ISSN 1939-9170, Vol. 90, no 7, 1948-1957 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Regional coexistence of ecologically similar species is facilitated when fluctuations in environmental conditions favor different species at different times or places. However, why species with similar ecology should vary in their response to environmental change is unclear. In this study, we explore the role of a life-history divergence in causing changes in relative fitness across environmental conditions experienced by populations of two closely related Ficedula flycatchers on the Baltic island of Oland, Sweden. We compared patterns of nestling survival between Pied (Ficedula hypoleuca) and Collared (F. albicollis) Flycatchers in relation to two factors known to influence the environment experienced by nestlings: natural variation in their parents' onset of breeding and artificial manipulation of the brood size. Possible differences in the location of the nests (i.e., microhabitat differences) or in habitat use (i.e., feeding patterns) by the adult birds were controlled for by partial cross-fostering of young between the two species. We found that nestling mortality was relatively higher among Collared Flycatchers and that this difference increased with later breeding. Mass gain, which predicted survival probability, of nestling Collared Flycatchers did not respond to the seasonal decline in environmental conditions when they were raised in nests with reduced brood size (i.e., where sibling competition was experimentally reduced). This latter result suggests that the smaller clutch size of Collared Flycatchers reflects an adaptive adjustment to their offspring's higher sensitivity to environmental change. We discuss the possibility that the divergence in life-history traits between the two species represents adaptation to different environments experienced during their recent evolutionary history. We conclude that the survival of nestling Collared Flycatchers is more sensitive to harsh environment and that this is likely to limit where and when the more aggressive Collared Flycatchers are able to displace Pied Flycatchers. Our results provide support for models of species coexistence that emphasize the importance of spatial or temporal heterogeneity in relative fitness or life-history divergence. More precisely, our results demonstrate that variation in life-history adaptations may result in changes in relative fitness of species across environments despite their use of similar resources.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 90, no 7, 1948-1957 p.
Keyword [en]
coexistence, competitive exclusion, Ficedula, flycatcher, life history, Oland, Sweden, relative fitness, reproductive interference, species distributions
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-128398ISI: 000267745800023OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-128398DiVA: diva2:331524
Available from: 2010-07-23 Created: 2010-07-20 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Competition, Coexistence and Character Displacement: In a Young Avian Hybrid Zone
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Competition, Coexistence and Character Displacement: In a Young Avian Hybrid Zone
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis investigates the ecological and evolutionary implications of a recent secondary contact between two closely related bird species: collared (Ficedula albicollis) and pied (F. hypoleuca) flycatchers. Collared flycatchers started to colonize the Swedish island of Öland, where pied flycatchers were already present, in the late 1950s-early1960s. My major aims were to investigate which factors are acting against versus for long-term coexistence between the two species. Specifically, I investigated the relative importance of allopatric divergence, interspecific competition, hybridization and learning in promoting or inhibiting coexistence. The combined effects of interspecific competition and hybridization drives pied flycatchers towards local extinction in their preferred deciduous habitat. However, my results also show that pied flycatchers are better able to tolerate harsh environmental conditions. This trade-off between competitive ability and resilience in the face of harsh conditions facilitates a regional coexistence between the species. Coexistence is furthermore favoured by competition-mediated divergence in breeding habitat choice, timing of breeding and male breeding plumage colouration. Due to interspecific competition, male pied flycatchers are forced to breed in a more mixed forest type with a later peak in food abundance, which is accompanied by a divergence in breeding time between the two species. In areas shared with collared flycatchers, male pied flycatchers with brown plumage coloration, most divergent from that of collared flycatchers, are favoured by selection. In addition to facilitating coexistence, the observed shift in habitat occupancy increases reproductive isolation between the two species. By using cross-fostering experiments I demonstrate that natal habitat imprinting has the potential to additionally speed up habitat segregation. Finally I show that hybrid nestlings express an intermediate response to harsh environments, indicating that another aspect of ecological-based selection may be important in reproductive isolation between the species. In summary, my results show that adaptations during historic allopatry are important both in facilitating coexistence as well as in providing a foundation for further ecological divergence at secondary contact. This is of relevance today as many species are shifting their distributions in response to habitat disturbance and global warming.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2011. 37 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 842
Keyword
Competition, coexistence, hybridization, ecological speciation, character displacement, pied flycatcher, collared flycatcher
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Animal Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-157146 (URN)978-91-554-8129-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-09-30, Lindahlsalen, Evolutionary Biology Centre (EBC), Norbyvägen 18, Uppsala, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2011-09-08 Created: 2011-08-17 Last updated: 2011-11-03Bibliographically approved

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Qvarnström, Anna

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