Evol Ecol Res 14: 447-465 (2012) Full PDF if your library subscribes.
Investigating ecological speciation in non-model organisms: a case study of killer whale ecotypes
Andrew D. Foote
Centre for GeoGenetics, Natural History Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark
Correspondence: A.D. Foote, Centre for GeoGenetics, Natural History Museum of Denmark, Øster Volgade 5–7, Copenhagen K, DK-1350, Denmark.
Background: Studies of ecological speciation tend to focus on a few model biological systems. In contrast, few studies on non-model organisms have been able to infer ecological speciation as the underlying mechanism of evolutionary divergence.
Questions: What are the pitfalls in studying ecological speciation in non-model organisms that lead to this bias? What alternative approaches might redress the balance?
Organism: Genetically differentiated types of the killer whale (Orcinus orca) exhibiting differences in prey preference, habitat use, morphology, and behaviour.
Methods: Review of the literature on killer whale evolutionary ecology in search of any difficulty in demonstrating causal links between variation in phenotype, ecology, and reproductive isolation in this non-model organism.
Results: At present, we do not have enough evidence to conclude that adaptive phenotype traits linked to ecological variation underlie reproductive isolation between sympatric killer whale types. Perhaps ecological speciation has occurred, but it is hard to prove. We will probably face this outcome whenever we wish to address non-model organisms – species in which it is not easy to apply experimental approaches and comparative studies among multiple taxon pairs. We need new genomic approaches that identify genes under selection and then link alleles to phenotypic differences and reproductive isolation.
Keywords: ecological speciation, genome-wide scans, killer whale, niche variation, non-model organism, phenotypic variation, reproductive isolation.
DOWNLOAD A FREE, FULL PDF COPY
IF you are connected using the IP of a subscribing institution (library, laboratory, etc.)
or through its VPN.
© 2012 Andrew D. Foote. All EER articles are copyrighted by their authors. All authors endorse, permit and license Evolutionary Ecology Ltd. to grant its subscribing institutions/libraries the copying privileges specified below without additional consideration or payment to them or to Evolutionary Ecology, Ltd. These endorsements, in writing, are on file in the office of Evolutionary Ecology, Ltd. Consult authors for permission to use any portion of their work in derivative works, compilations or to distribute their work in any commercial manner.
Subscribing institutions/libraries may grant individuals the privilege of making a single copy of an EER article for non-commercial educational or non-commercial research purposes. Subscribing institutions/libraries may also use articles for non-commercial educational purposes by making any number of copies for course packs or course reserve collections. Subscribing institutions/libraries may also loan single copies of articles to non-commercial libraries for educational purposes.
All copies of abstracts and articles must preserve their copyright notice without modification.