Founder effects persist despite adaptive differentiation: a field experiment with lizards.


Journal Article

The extent to which random processes such as founder events contribute to evolutionary divergence is a long-standing controversy in evolutionary biology. To determine the respective contributions of founder effects and natural selection, we conducted an experiment in which brown anole (Anolis sagrei) lizard populations were established on seven small islands in the Bahamas, from male-female pairs randomly drawn from the same large-island source. These founding events generated significant among-island genetic and morphological differences that persisted throughout the course of the experiment despite all populations adapting in the predicted direction-shorter hindlimbs-in response to the narrower vegetation on the small islands. Thus, using a replicated experiment in nature, we showed that both founder effects and natural selection jointly determine trait values in these populations.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Kolbe, JJ; Leal, M; Schoener, TW; Spiller, DA; Losos, JB

Published Date

  • March 2012

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 335 / 6072

Start / End Page

  • 1086 - 1089

PubMed ID

  • 22300849

Pubmed Central ID

  • 22300849

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1095-9203

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0036-8075

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1126/science.1209566


  • eng