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Contrasting impacts of competition on ecological and social trait evolution in songbirds.

Drury, J.P. and Tobias, J.A. and Burns, K.J. and Mason, N.A. and Schultz, A.J. and Morlon, H. (2018) 'Contrasting impacts of competition on ecological and social trait evolution in songbirds.', PLoS biology., 16 (1). e2003563.

Abstract

Competition between closely related species has long been viewed as a powerful selective force that drives trait diversification, thereby generating phenotypic diversity over macroevolutionary timescales. However, although the impact of interspecific competition has been documented in a handful of iconic insular radiations, most previous studies have focused on traits involved in resource use, and few have examined the role of competition across large, continental radiations. Thus, the extent to which broad-scale patterns of phenotypic diversity are shaped by competition remain largely unclear, particularly for social traits. Here, we estimate the effect of competition between interacting lineages by applying new phylogenetic models that account for such interactions to an exceptionally complete dataset of resource-use traits and social signaling traits for the entire radiation of tanagers (Aves, Thraupidae), the largest family of songbirds. We find that interspecific competition strongly influences the evolution of traits involved in resource use, with a weaker effect on plumage signals, and very little effect on song. Our results provide compelling evidence that interspecific exploitative competition contributes to ecological trait diversification among coexisting species, even in a large continental radiation. In comparison, signal traits mediating mate choice and social competition seem to diversify under different evolutionary models, including rapid diversification in the allopatric stage of speciation.

Item Type:Article
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Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution.
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2003563
Publisher statement:Copyright: © 2018 Drury et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Date accepted:11 January 2018
Date deposited:14 February 2018
Date of first online publication:31 January 2018
Date first made open access:14 February 2018

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