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The contribution of post-copulatory mechanisms to incipient ecological speciation in sticklebacks

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Kaufmann,  Joshka
Department Evolutionary Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Eizaguirre,  Christophe
Department Evolutionary Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Milinski,  Manfred
Department Evolutionary Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Lenz,  Tobias L.
Department Evolutionary Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Kaufmann, J., Eizaguirre, C., Milinski, M., & Lenz, T. L. (2015). The contribution of post-copulatory mechanisms to incipient ecological speciation in sticklebacks. Biology Letters, 11(1): 20140933. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2014.0933.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0024-BC1A-7
Abstract
Ecology can play a major role in species diversification. As individuals are adapting to contrasting habitats, reproductive barriers may evolve at multiple levels. While pre-mating barriers have been extensively studied, the evolution of post-mating reproductive isolation during early stages of ecological speciation remains poorly understood. In diverging three-spined stickleback ecotypes from two lakes and two rivers, we observed differences in sperm traits between lake and river males. Interestingly, these differences did not translate into ecotype-specific gamete precedence for sympatric males in competitive in vitro fertilization experiments, potentially owing to antagonistic compensatory effects. However, we observed indirect evidence for impeded development of inter-ecotype zygotes, possibly suggesting an early stage of genetic incompatibility between ecotypes. Our results show that pre-zygotic post-copulatory mechanisms play a minor role during this first stage of ecotype divergence, but suggest that genetic incompatibilities may arise at early stages of ecological speciation.