Letter

Nature 446, 436-439 (22 March 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature05629; Received 29 November 2006; Accepted 29 January 2007

Immigration history controls diversification in experimental adaptive radiation

Tadashi Fukami1, Hubertus J. E. Beaumont2, Xue-Xian Zhang2 & Paul B. Rainey2

  1. Department of Zoology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA
  2. School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand

Correspondence to: Tadashi Fukami1 Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to T.F. (Email: tfukami@hawaii.edu).

Diversity in biological communities is a historical product of immigration, diversification and extinction1, 2, 3, 4, but the combined effect of these processes is poorly understood. Here we show that the order and timing of immigration controls the extent of diversification. When an ancestral bacterial genotype was introduced into a spatially structured habitat, it rapidly diversified into multiple niche-specialist types5. However, diversification was suppressed when a niche-specialist type was introduced before, or shortly after, introduction of the ancestral genotype. In contrast, little suppression occurred when the same niche specialist was introduced relatively late. The negative impact of early arriving immigrants was attributable to the historically sensitive outcome of interactions involving neutral competition3 and indirect facilitation. Ultimately, the entire boom-and-bust dynamics of adaptive radiation were altered. These results demonstrate that immigration and diversification are tightly linked processes, with small differences in immigration history greatly affecting the evolutionary emergence of diversity.

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