Predicting speciation is a fundamental goal of research in evolutionary ecology. The probability of speciation is often positively correlated with ecosystem size. Although the mechanisms driving this correlation are generally difficult to identify, a shared geographical and ecological context provides a suitable condition to study the mechanisms that promote speciation in large ecosystems by reducing the number of factors to be considered. Here, we determined the correlation between speciation and ecosystem size, and discuss the underlying mechanisms of this relationship, using a probable parallel ecotype formation for freshwater fish. Our population genetic analysis revealed that speciation of the landlocked goby, Rhinogobius sp. YB, of the Ryukyu Archipelago, Japan, from its migratory ancestor, R. brunneus, occurred in parallel across five islands. Logistic regression analysis showed that speciation probability could be predicted using island size. The results suggest that ecosystem size predicts the occurrence of adaptation and reproductive isolation, probably through its association with three possible factors: divergent selection strength, population persistence, and occurrence probability of habitat separation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics