Behavioural response to songs between genetically diverged allopatric populations of Darwin’s small tree finch in the Galápagos

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Abstract

Empirical data that identify contemporary mechanisms of divergence shed light on how species could multiply. In this study, we measured population genetic structure, song syllable diversity and response to simulated intruder song in Darwin's small tree finch (Camarhynchus parvulus) on Santa Cruz and Floreana Islands, Galápagos archipelago. Our aim was to test whether the magnitude of contemporary behavioural response in resident birds was consistent with patterns of genetic or cultural differences between populations. We analysed genetic structure and the occurrence of song syllable types, and experimentally measured the response of resident birds to intruder bird song from different geographical origin (i.e., island) or syllable type. We discovered a weak signal of population genetic structure between Santa Cruz and Floreana Islands. Although some song syllables occurred on both islands, others were unique to each island; Santa Cruz Island males used more unique syllables than Floreana Island males. Both Santa Cruz and Floreana resident males discriminated their response towards a simulated intruder song based on the geographical origin of the intruder song, but not on the syllable type sung by the intruder. We conclude that the populations are diverging in genetic and cultural traits and identified a signal of contemporary behavioural response that could maintain divergence upon secondary contact.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)816-829
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume34
Issue number5
Early online date13 Mar 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

Keywords

  • allopatry
  • culture
  • evolution
  • gene flow
  • mating signal divergence
  • song
  • tree finch
  • Galapagos

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