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How Likely Is Speciation in Neutral Ecology?

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journal contribution
posted on 2014-04-15, 00:00 authored by Philippe Desjardins-Proulx, Dominique Gravel
Patterns of biodiversity predicted by the neutral theory rely on a simple phenomenological model of speciation. To further investigate the effect of speciation on neutral biodiversity, we analyze a spatially explicit neutral model based on population genetics. We define the metacommunity as a system of populations exchanging migrants, and we use this framework to introduce speciation with little or no gene flow (allopatric and parapatric speciation). We find that with realistic mutation rates, our metacommunity model driven by neutral processes cannot support more than a few species. Adding natural selection in the population genetics of speciation increases the number of species in the metacommunity, but the level of diversity found in the Barro Colorado Island is difficult to reach.


This work was supported by a research grant from the Canada Research Chair program to D.G.


Publisher Statement

This is a copy of an article published in the American Naturalist © 2012 University of Chicago Press. The original version is available through University of Chicago Press at DOI: 10.1086/663196


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