Patterns in fish radiation are compatible with Pleistocene desiccation of Lake Victoria and 14 600 year history for its cichlid species flock

Seehausen, Ole (2002). Patterns in fish radiation are compatible with Pleistocene desiccation of Lake Victoria and 14 600 year history for its cichlid species flock. Proceedings of the Royal Society. Series B - biological sciences, 269(1490), pp. 491-497. Royal Society of London 10.1098/rspb.2001.1906

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Geophysical data are currently being interpreted as evidence for a late Pleistocene desiccation of Lake Victoria and its refilling 14 600 years ago. This implies that between 500 and 1000 endemic cichlid fish species must have evolved in 14 600 years, the fastest large-scale species radiation known. A recent review concludes that biological evidence clearly rejects the postulated Pleistocene desiccation of the lake: a 14 600 year history would imply exceptionally high speciation rates across a range of unrelated fish taxa. To test this suggestion, I calculated speciation rates for all 41 phylogenetic lineages of fish in the lake. Except for one cichlid lineage, accepting a 14 600 year history does not require any speciation rates that fall outside the range observed in fishes in other young lakes around the world. The exceptional taxon is a lineage of haplochromine cichlids that is also known for its rapid speciation elsewhere. Moreover, since it is unknown how many founding species it has, it is not certain that its speciation rates are really outside the range observed in fishes in other young lakes. Fish speciation rates are generally faster in younger than in older lakes, and those in Lake Victoria, by far the largest of the young lakes of the world, are no exception. From the speciation rates and from biogeographical observations that Lake Victoria endemics, which lack close relatives within the lake basin, have such relatives in adjacent drainage systems that may have had Holocene connections to Lake Victoria, I conclude that the composition of the fish assemblage does not provide biological evidence against Pleistocene desiccation. It supports a hypothesis of recent colonization from outside the lake basin rather than survival of a diverse assemblage within the basin.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

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

UniBE Contributor:

Seehausen, Ole

Subjects:

500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology

ISSN:

0962-8452

Publisher:

Royal Society of London

Language:

English

Submitter:

Marcel Häsler

Date Deposited:

04 Sep 2015 10:23

Last Modified:

04 Sep 2015 10:23

Publisher DOI:

10.1098/rspb.2001.1906

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.71516

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/71516

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