Faculté des sciences

Trophic specialization influences the rate of environmental niche evolution in damselfishes (Pomacentridae)

Litsios, Glenn ; Pellissier, Loïc ; Forest, Félix ; Lexer, Christian ; Pearman, Peter B. ; Zimmermann, Niklaus E. ; Salamin, Nicolas

In: Proceedings of the Royal Society B - Biological Sciences, 2012, p. -

The rate of environmental niche evolution describes the capability of species to explore the available environmental space and is known to vary among species owing to lineage-specific factors. Trophic specialization is a main force driving species evolution and is responsible for classical examples of adaptive radiations in fishes. We investigate the effect of trophic specialization on the rate... Plus

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    Summary
    The rate of environmental niche evolution describes the capability of species to explore the available environmental space and is known to vary among species owing to lineage-specific factors. Trophic specialization is a main force driving species evolution and is responsible for classical examples of adaptive radiations in fishes. We investigate the effect of trophic specialization on the rate of environmental niche evolution in the damselfish, Pomacentridae, which is an important family of tropical reef fishes. First, phylogenetic niche conservatism is not detected in the family using a standard test of phylogenetic signal, and we demonstrate that the environmental niches of damselfishes that differ in trophic specialization are not equivalent while they still overlap at their mean values. Second, we estimate the relative rates of niche evolution on the phylogenetic tree and show the heterogeneity among rates of environmental niche evolution of the three trophic groups. We suggest that behavioural characteristics related to trophic specialization can constrain the evolution of the environmental niche and lead to conserved niches in specialist lineages. Our results show the extent of influence of several traits on the evolution of the environmental niche and shed new light on the evolution of damselfishes, which is a key lineage in current efforts to conserve biodiversity in coral reefs.