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Understanding the process of speciation is a primary goal of evolutionary biology, yet the question of whether speciation can reach completion in the presence of gene flow is still controversial. For more than 50 years, the cichlids of Africa, and more recently those in South and Central America, have served as model systems for the study of speciation in nature. Cichlids are distinguished by their enormous species richness, diversity of behavioral and trophic adaptations, and their rapid rate of divergence. In both Africa and South and Central America, the repeated interaction of geology, new founder events, and adaptive evolution has created a series of natural experiments with speciation occurring both within and between waterbodies of differing ages. In the "From the Cover" manuscript, Raffini, Schneider, Franchini, Kautt, & Meyer (2020) move beyond the question of which mechanisms drive speciation, and instead show that divergent morphologies and physiologies translate into adaptive traits. They investigate differences in physiology and gene expression profiles in a benthic/limnetic species pair of Midas cichlid fish in a 24k year old Nicaraguan crater lake. While recently diverged, these two species demonstrate significant ecological but limited genetic differentiation. The authors find that the distinct morphotypes translate into relevant differences in swimming performance and metabolic rates that correspond with differential gene expression profiles. Hence, the authors take an integrative approach examining the impacts of morphological differences on performance and niche partitioning: an approach that can advance our understanding of the drivers of morphological and physiological divergence during speciation.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Molecular ecology
Culturally-transmitted ecological specialization can reduce niche breadths with demographic and ecological consequences. I use agent-based models, grounded in killer whale biology, to investigate the ...
Cichlid fishes' famous diversity in body coloration is accompanied by a highly diverse and complex visual system. Although cichlids possess an unusually high number of seven cone opsin genes, they exp...
Evolutionary studies over the last several decades have invoked fitness trade-offs to explain why species prefer some environments to others. However, the effects of population size on trade-offs and ...
Sympatric speciation occurs without geographical barriers and is thought to often be driven by ecological specialization of individuals that eventually diverge genetically and phenotypically. Distinct...
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The MIDAS Project (Models of Implementation and Dissemination of Environmental Health and Science Across Subjects) Assessment Objectives: - Determine whether students are aware of the ...
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Ecological momentary assessment (EMA) is gaining importance in psychiatry. This project assesses the characteristics of patients who used a new electronic EMA tool: the MEmind Wellness Tra...
The proposed trial aims to test the feasibility of ecological momentary intervention on stroke caregivers' psychological distress.
Ongoing collection, analysis, and interpretation of ecological data that is used to assess changes in the components, processes, and overall condition and functioning of an ECOSYSTEM.
Ecological and environmental entities, characteristics, properties, relationships and processes.
An occupation limited in scope to a subsection of a broader field.
Common name for perch-like fish of the family Cichlidae, belonging to the suborder Labroidei, order PERCIFORMES.
A medical-surgical specialty concerned with the physiology and disorders primarily of the female genital tract, as well as female endocrinology and reproductive physiology.
Bioinformatics is the application of computer software and hardware to the management of biological data to create useful information. Computers are used to gather, store, analyze and integrate biological and genetic information which can then be applied...
The process of gene expression is used by eukaryotes, prokaryotes, and viruses to generate the macromolecular machinery for life. Steps in the gene expression process may be modulated, including the transcription, RNA splicing, translation, and post-tran...