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Exploring Morphospaces in Adaptive Radiations to unravel Ecological Speciation (EMARES)
Date du début: 1 oct. 2010, Date de fin: 30 juin 2016 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

"150 years from the Origin and we have yet to unravel how ecological speciation works, and how it leads to spectacular adaptive radiations. The process has two components: adaptation to ecological niches and production of new species. My aim is to make breakthroughs in understanding ecological speciation by the study of geographically parallel adaptive radiations in mycalesine butterflies that have yielded some 250 extant species in the Old World tropics. More empirical studies are needed because few radiations have been examined from many different perspectives (including in insects). It is not fully understood either how exactly radiation occurs or how exactly selection leads to speciation. This proposal provides a unique opportunity, outside a few vertebrate clades, to resolve this by fully integrating several lines of evidence and methodologies. My approach will be to study patterns of diversity and disparity in morphospace for several sets of key traits: 1) wing patterns, 2) larval host plant choice especially with respect to C3 and C4 photosynthesis, and 3) male secondary sexual traits and sex pheromones. We will collect phenotypic, genetic, developmental, and ecological data. Application of phylogenetic comparative methods to the relationships of all traits among all species will make inferences about the biological mechanisms that have driven diversification and speciation. The combination of surveys of morphospace, the use of comparative methods, and microevolutionary studies using laboratory models will provide a unique comprehensive view. Our analyses will distinguish among alternative patterns of adaptive radiations, test predictions from models, and move us forward in identifying the drivers of observed patterns."


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