Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Data from: Model-based species delimitation: are coalescent species reproductively isolated?


Campillo, Luke; Barley, Anthony; Thomson, Robert (2019), Data from: Model-based species delimitation: are coalescent species reproductively isolated?, Dryad, Dataset,


A large and growing fraction of systematists define species as independently evolving lineages that may be recognized by analyzing the population genetic history of alleles sampled from individuals belonging to those species. This has motivated the development of increasingly sophisticated statistical models rooted in the multispecies coalescent process. Specifically, these models allow for simultaneous estimation of the number of species present in a sample of individuals and the phylogenetic history of those species using only DNA sequence data from independent loci. These methods hold extraordinary promise for increasing the efficiency of species discovery, but require extensive validation to ensure that they are accurate and precise. Whether the species identified by these methods correspond to the species that would be recognized by alternative species recognition criteria (such as measurements of reproductive isolation) is currently an open question, and a subject of vigorous debate. Here we perform an empirical test of these methods by making use of a classic model system in the history of speciation research, flies of the genus Drosophila. Specifically, we use the uniquely comprehensive data on reproductive isolation that is available for this system, along with DNA sequence data, to ask whether Drosophila species inferred under the multispecies coalescent model correspond to those recognized by many decades of speciation research. We found that coalescent based and reproductive isolation based methods of inferring species boundaries are concordant for 77% of the species pairs. We explore and discuss potential explanations for these discrepancies. We also found that the amount of prezygotic isolation between two species is a strong predictor of the posterior probability of species boundaries based on DNA sequence data, regardless of whether the species pairs are sympatrically or allopatrically distributed.

Usage Notes


National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-1354506

National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-1754350

National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-1356796