If colonizing populations are displaced into an environment that is often very different from that of their source1, they are particularly likely to diverge evolutionarily, the more so because they are usually small and thus likely to change by genetic restructuring or drift2,3. Despite its fundamental importance, the consequence of colonization for traits of founding populations have primarily been surmised from static present-day distributions1,2,4,5, laboratory experiments6 and the outcomes of haphazard human introductions7–9, rather than from replicated field experiments. Here we report long-term results of just such an experimental study. Populations of the lizard Anolis sagrei, introduced onto small islands from a nearby source, differentiated from each other rapidly over a 10–14-year period. The more different the recipient island's vegetation from that of the source, the greater the magnitude of differentiation. Further, the direction of differentiation followed an expectation based on the evolutionary diversification of insular Anolis over its entire geographic range. In addition to providing a glimpse of adaptive dynamics in one of the most extensive generic radiations on earth, the results lend support to the general argument that environment determines the evolution of morphology.
Access optionsAccess options
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $3.90 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Rent or Buy article
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Carlquist, S. Island Biology (Columbia Univ. Press, New York, 1974).
Carson, H. L. & Templeton, A. R. Genetic revolutions in relation to speciation phenomena: the founding of new populations. Ann. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 15, 97–131 (1984).
Templeton, A. R. The theory of speciation via the founder principle. Genetics 94, 1011–1038 (1980).
Darlington, P. J. Zoogeography: the Geographical Distribution of Animals (Wiley, New York, 1957).
Williams, E. E. The ecology of colonization as seen in the zoogeography of anoline lizards on small islands. Q. Rev. Biol. 44, 345–389 (1969).
Templeton, A. R. Experimental evidence for the genetic-transilience model of speciation. Evolution 50, 909–915 (1996).
Baker, A. J. Genetic and morphometric divergence in ancestral European and descendant New Zealand populations of chaffinches (Fringilla coelebs). Evolution 46, 1794–1800 (1992).
St Louis, V. L. & Barlow, J. C. Morphornetric analyses of introduced and ancestral populations of the Eurasian tree sparrow. Wilson Bull. 103, 1–12 (1991).
Johnston, R. F. & Selander, R. K. Evolution in the house sparrow II. Adaptive differentiation in North American populations. Evolution 25, 1–28 (1971).
Schoener, T. W. & Schoener, A. The time to extinction of a colonizing propagule of lizards increases with island area. Nature 302, 332–334 (1983).
Coker, W. C. in The Bahatua Islands (ed. Shattuck, G. B.) 185–270 (MacMillan, New York,1905).
Losos, J. B., Irschick, D. J. & Schoener, T. W. Adaptation and constraint in the evolution of specialization of Bahamian Anolis lizards. Evolution 48, 1786–1798 (1994).
Losos, J. B. & Irschick, D. J. The effect of perch diameter on escape behaviour of Anolis lizards: laboratory predictions and field tests. Anim. Behav. 51, 593–602 (1996).
Gingerich, P. D. Rates of evolution: effects of time and temporal scaling. Science 222, 159–161 (1983).
Williams, E. E. in Lizard Ecology: Studies of a Model Organism (eds Huey, R. B., Pianka, E. R. & Schoener, T. W.) 326–370 (Harvard Univ. Press. Cambridge, MA, 1983).
Patton, J. L. & Brylski, P. V. Pocket gophers in alfalfa fields: causes and consequences of habitat- related body size variation. Am. Nat. 130, 493–506 (1988).
Robinson, B. W. & Wilson, D. S. Experimentally induced morphological diversity in Trinidadian guppies (Poecilia reticulata). Copeia 1995, 294–305 (1995).
Woo, S. L. -Y. et al. The effect of prolonged physical training on the properties of long bone: a study of Wolff's Law. J. Bone Joint Surg. 63-A, 780–786 (1981).
Loitz, B. J. & Zernicke, R. F. Strenuous exercise-induced remodelling of mature bone: relationships between in vivo strains and bone mechanics. J. Exp. Biol. 170, 1–18 (1992).
Kiiskinen, A. Physical training and connective tissues in young mice: physical properties of achilles tendons and long bones. Growth 41, 123–137 (1977).
Schmalhausen, I. I. Factors of Evolution (Blakiston, Philadelphia, PA, 1949).
Huxley, J. Evolution: the Modern Synthesis (Harper, New York, 1942).
Waddington, C. H. The Evolution of an Evolutionist (Columbia Univ. Press, New York, 1975).
West-Eberhard, M. J. Phenotypic plasticity and the origins of diversity, Ann. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 20, 249–278 (1989).
Schoener, T. W. in Community Ecology (eds Diamond, J. & Case, T. J.) 556–586 (Harper and Row, New York, 1986).
Bookstein, F. L. "Size and shape": a comment on semantics. Syst. Zool. 38, 173–180 (1989).
Bookstein, F. L. et al.(eds) Morphornetrics in Evolutionary Biology (Acad. Natl Sci., Philadelphia, PA, 1985).
Rohlf, F.J & Bookstein, F. L. A comment on shearing as a method of "size correction". Syst. Zool. 36, 356–367 (1987).
Stamps, J. A., Krishnan, V. V. & Andrews, R. M. Analyses of sexual size dimorphism using null growthbased models. Copeia 1994, 598–613 (1994).
Burnaby, T. P. Growth-invariant discriminant functions and generalized distances. Biometrics 22, 96–110 (1966).
About this article
Urban Ecosystems (2019)
Nature Communications (2017)
Scientific Reports (2016)
Rapid morphological changes, admixture and invasive success in populations of Ring-necked parakeets (Psittacula krameri) established in Europe
Biological Invasions (2016)
Reconciling community ecology with evidence of animal culture: Socially-adapted, localized community dynamics?
Biology & Philosophy (2016)