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Am J Bot. 2010 Apr;97(4):680-93. doi: 10.3732/ajb.0900216. Epub 2010 Mar 11.

Ecological and geographic modes of species divergence in wild tomatoes.

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  • 1Department of Biology, The University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee 38152 USA.


Understanding the role of geography and ecology in species divergence is central to the study of evolutionary diversification. We used climatic, geographic, and biological data from nine wild Andean tomato species to describe each species' ecological niche and to evaluate the likely ecological and geographical modes of speciation in this clade. Using data from >1000 wild accessions and publicly available data derived from geographic information systems for various environmental variables, we found most species pairs were significantly differentiated for one or more environmental variables. By comparing species' predicted niches generated by species distribution modeling (SDM), we found significant niche differentiation among three of four sister-species pairs, suggesting ecological divergence is consistently associated with recent divergence. In comparison, based on age-range correlation (ARC) analysis, there was no evidence for a predominant geographical (allopatric vs. sympatric) context for speciation in this group. Overall, our results suggest an important role for environmentally mediated differentiation, rather than simply geographical isolation, in species divergence.

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