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Data from: Behavioral response to song and genetic divergence in two subspecies of white-crowned sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys)

Citation

Lipshutz, Sara E. et al. (2016), Data from: Behavioral response to song and genetic divergence in two subspecies of white-crowned sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys), Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.5jc0t

Abstract

Divergence in sexual signals may drive reproductive isolation between lineages, but behavioral barriers can weaken in contact zones. Here, we investigate the role of song as a behavioral and genetic barrier in a contact zone between two subspecies of white-crowned sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys). We employed a reduced genomic dataset to assess population structure and infer the history underlying divergence, gene flow and hybridization. We also measured divergence in song and tested behavioral responses to song using playback experiments within and outside the contact zone. We found that the subspecies form distinct genetic clusters, and demographic inference supported a model of secondary contact. Song phenotype, particularly length of the first note (a whistle), was a significant predictor of genetic subspecies identity and genetic distance along the hybrid zone, suggesting a close link between song and genetic divergence in this system. Individuals from both parental and admixed localities responded significantly more strongly to their own song than to the other subspecies song, supporting song as a behavioral barrier. Putative parental and admixed individuals were not significantly different in their strength of discrimination between own and other songs; however, individuals from admixed localities tended to discriminate less strongly, and this difference in discrimination strength was explained by song dissimilarity as well as genetic distance. Therefore, we find that song acts as a reproductive isolating mechanism that is potentially weakening in a contact zone between the subspecies. Our findings also support the hypothesis that intra-specific song variation can reduce gene flow between populations.

Usage Notes

Funding

National Science Foundation, Award: 1154145; DOB-1342578; DEB-1253710

Location

Oregon
California
Washington