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Learning the hard way: imprinting can enhance enforced shifts in habitat choice
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Animal Ecology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Animal Ecology.
2011 (English)In: International Journal of Ecology, ISSN 1687-9708, E-ISSN 1687-9716, 287532Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We investigated the potential importance of learning in habitat choice within a young hybrid zone of two closely related speciesof birds. Pied flycatchers (Ficedula hypoleuca) are being excluded from deciduous habitats into a mixed forest type by collaredflycatchers (F. albicollis). We investigated whether this enforced habitat shift influenced reproductive isolation between the twospecies, and, by cross-fostering nestlings, we tested whether learning may lead to a corresponding shift in habitat choice inconsecutive generations. Our results show that the majority of the recruits, even if translocated across different habitat types,return to breed in the area where they were fostered. As male pied flycatchers were more likely to hybridize in the originallypreferred habitat, we argue that early imprinting on an alternate habitat can play an important role in increasing reproductiveisolation and facilitate regional coexistence between species experiencing secondary contact.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. 287532
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-157145DOI: 10.1155/2011/287532OAI: diva2:435129
Swedish Research CouncilEU, European Research Council
Available from: 2011-08-17 Created: 2011-08-17 Last updated: 2016-08-11Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Competition, Coexistence and Character Displacement: In a Young Avian Hybrid Zone
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Competition, Coexistence and Character Displacement: In a Young Avian Hybrid Zone
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis investigates the ecological and evolutionary implications of a recent secondary contact between two closely related bird species: collared (Ficedula albicollis) and pied (F. hypoleuca) flycatchers. Collared flycatchers started to colonize the Swedish island of Öland, where pied flycatchers were already present, in the late 1950s-early1960s. My major aims were to investigate which factors are acting against versus for long-term coexistence between the two species. Specifically, I investigated the relative importance of allopatric divergence, interspecific competition, hybridization and learning in promoting or inhibiting coexistence. The combined effects of interspecific competition and hybridization drives pied flycatchers towards local extinction in their preferred deciduous habitat. However, my results also show that pied flycatchers are better able to tolerate harsh environmental conditions. This trade-off between competitive ability and resilience in the face of harsh conditions facilitates a regional coexistence between the species. Coexistence is furthermore favoured by competition-mediated divergence in breeding habitat choice, timing of breeding and male breeding plumage colouration. Due to interspecific competition, male pied flycatchers are forced to breed in a more mixed forest type with a later peak in food abundance, which is accompanied by a divergence in breeding time between the two species. In areas shared with collared flycatchers, male pied flycatchers with brown plumage coloration, most divergent from that of collared flycatchers, are favoured by selection. In addition to facilitating coexistence, the observed shift in habitat occupancy increases reproductive isolation between the two species. By using cross-fostering experiments I demonstrate that natal habitat imprinting has the potential to additionally speed up habitat segregation. Finally I show that hybrid nestlings express an intermediate response to harsh environments, indicating that another aspect of ecological-based selection may be important in reproductive isolation between the species. In summary, my results show that adaptations during historic allopatry are important both in facilitating coexistence as well as in providing a foundation for further ecological divergence at secondary contact. This is of relevance today as many species are shifting their distributions in response to habitat disturbance and global warming.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2011. 37 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 842
Competition, coexistence, hybridization, ecological speciation, character displacement, pied flycatcher, collared flycatcher
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Animal Ecology
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-157146 (URN)978-91-554-8129-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-09-30, Lindahlsalen, Evolutionary Biology Centre (EBC), Norbyvägen 18, Uppsala, 13:00 (English)
Available from: 2011-09-08 Created: 2011-08-17 Last updated: 2011-11-03Bibliographically approved

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