Hybridization fluctuates with rainfall in Darwin's tree finches

Sonia Kleindorfer, Rachael Y. Dudaniec

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Hybridization in natural populations may be an adaptive response to shifting climatic regimes, but understanding this can be limited by the timing of sampling effort and confident identification of hybrids. On the Galapagos Islands, Darwin's finches regularly hybridize; the islands also show extreme annual variation in rainfall, but the effect of annual rainfall on the frequency of finch hybridization is little known. Across a 20-year period on Floreana Island, we compare patterns of hybridization in sympatric Darwin's tree finches (N=425; Camaryhnchus spp.) and test for an effect of annual rainfall on (1) the frequency of hybrids (C. pauper×C. parvulus) and (2) the percentage of male hybrid birds produced per year (hybrid recruitment). Annual rainfall correlated with recruitment positively for hybrids, negatively for C. parvulus and not at all for C. pauper. Furthermore, the percentage of hybrids (range: 12-56%) and C. parvulus did not change with sampling year, but the critically endangered C. pauper declined. Our findings indicate that hybrid recruitment is recurring and variable according to annual rainfall in Camarhynchus Darwin's finches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-88
Number of pages10
JournalBiological Journal of The Linnean Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2020


  • annual rainfall
  • Camarhynchus
  • climate change
  • Darwin's finches
  • Galapagos Islands
  • hybridization
  • microsatellites


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