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A genetically based ecological trade-off contributes to setting a geographic range limit

Cite this dataset

Mauro, Alexander; Torres-Dowdall, Julian; Marshall, Craig; Ghalambor, Cameron (2021). A genetically based ecological trade-off contributes to setting a geographic range limit [Dataset]. Dryad.


Understanding the ecological factors that shape geographic range limits and the evolutionary constraints that prevent populations from adaptively evolving beyond these limits is an unresolved question. Here, we investigated why the euryhaline fish, Poecila reticulata, is confined to freshwater within its native range, despite being tolerant of brackish water. We hypothesized that competitive interactions with a close relative, Poecilia picta, in brackish water prevents P. reticulata from colonizing brackish water. Using a combination of field transplant, common garden breeding, and laboratory behavior experiments we find support for this hypothesis, as P. reticulata are behaviorally subordinate and have lower survival in brackish water with P. picta. We also found a negative genetic correlation between P. reticulata growth in brackish water versus freshwater in the presence of P. picta, suggesting a genetically based trade-off between salinity tolerance and competitive ability could constrain adaptive evolution at the range limit.


The methods surrounding the data can be found in the manuscript. The data presented here is the raw data needed to recreate the analyses in the manuscript.

Usage notes

We believe reading the methods and accessing this dataset will allow users to recreate analyses using their preferred statistical software. If users wish to see our R code, please email.


National Science Foundation, Award: IOS-1457383

National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-1011655

National Science Foundation, Award: DGE-1450032