Rapid generation of ecologically relevant behavioral novelty in experimental cichlid hybrids

Feller, Anna F.; Selz, Oliver M.; McGee, Matthew D.; Meier, Joana I.; Mwaiko, Salome; Seehausen, Ole (2020). Rapid generation of ecologically relevant behavioral novelty in experimental cichlid hybrids. Ecology and evolution, 10(14), pp. 7445-7462. Wiley 10.1002/ece3.6471

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The East African cichlid radiations are characterized by repeated and rapid diversification into many distinct species with different ecological specializations and by a history of hybridization events between nonsister species. Such hybridization might provide important fuel for adaptive radiation. Interspecific hybrids can have extreme trait values or novel trait combinations and such transgressive phenotypes may allow some hybrids to explore ecological niches neither of the parental species could tap into. Here, we investigate the potential of second-generation (F2) hybrids between two generalist cichlid species from Lake Malawi to exploit a resource neither parental species is specialized on: feeding by sifting sand. Some of the F2 hybrids phenotypically resembled fish of species that are specialized on sand sifting. We combined experimental behavioral and morphometric approaches to test whether the F2 hybrids are transgressive in both morphology and behavior related to sand sifting. We then performed a quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis using RADseq markers to investigate the genetic architecture of morphological and behavioral traits. We show that transgression is present in several morphological traits, that novel trait combinations occur, and we observe transgressive trait values in sand sifting behavior in some of the F2 hybrids. Moreover, we find QTLs for morphology and for sand sifting behavior, suggesting the existence of some loci with moderate to large effects. We demonstrate that hybridization has the potential to rapidly generate novel and ecologically relevant phenotypes that may be suited to a niche neither of the parental species occupies. Interspecific hybridization may thereby contribute to the rapid generation of ecological diversity in cichlid radiations.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE) > Aquatic Ecology
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE)

UniBE Contributor:

Feller, Anna Fiona and Seehausen, Ole

Subjects:

500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology

ISSN:

2045-7758

Publisher:

Wiley

Language:

English

Submitter:

Marcel Häsler

Date Deposited:

24 Jun 2020 15:19

Last Modified:

31 Jul 2020 01:32

Publisher DOI:

10.1002/ece3.6471

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.144752

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/144752

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