The role of visual adaptation in cichlid fish speciation

D. Shane Wright, Ole Seehausen, Ton G.G. Groothuis, Martine Maan

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Abstract

D. Shane Wright (1) , Ole Seehausen (2), Ton G.G. Groothuis (1), Martine E. Maan (1) (1) University of Groningen; GELIFES; EGDB(2) Department of Fish Ecology & Evolution, EAWAG Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Biogeochemistry, Kastanienbaum AND Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Aquatic Ecology, University of Bern.

In less than 15,000 years, Lake Victoria cichlid fishes have radiated into as many as 500 different species. Ecological and sexual sel ection are thought to contribute to this ongoing speciation process, but genetic differentiation remains low. However, recent work in visual pigment genes, opsins, has shown more diversity. Unlike neighboring Lakes Malawi and Tanganyika, Lake Victoria is highly turbid, resulting in a long wavelength shift in the light spectrum with increasing depth, providing an environmental gradient for exploring divergent coevolution in sensory systems and colour signals via sensory drive. Pundamilia pundamila and Pundamilia nyererei are two sympatric species found at rocky islands across southern portions of Lake Victoria, differing in male colouration and the depth they reside. Previous work has shown species differentiation in colour discrimination, corresponding to divergent female preferences for conspecific male colouration. A mechanistic link between colour vision and preference would provide a rapid route to reproductive isolation between divergently adapting populations. This link is tested by experimental manip ulation of colour vision - raising both species and their hybrids under light conditions mimicking shallow and deep habitats. We quantify the expression of retinal opsins and test behaviours important for speciation: mate choice, habitat preference, and fo raging performance.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 10-Aug-2015
EventEuropean Society for Evolutionary Biology - Lausanne, Switzerland
Duration: 10-Aug-201514-Aug-2015

Conference

ConferenceEuropean Society for Evolutionary Biology
CountrySwitzerland
CityLausanne
Period10/08/201514/08/2015

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