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Data from: Ecogeographic isolation and speciation in the genus Mimulus

Cite this dataset

Sobel, James M. (2014). Data from: Ecogeographic isolation and speciation in the genus Mimulus [Dataset]. Dryad.


Despite a long history of examining the geographic context of speciation, differences in geographic range have rarely been considered a legitimate isolating mechanism. This likely results from the complex relationship between historical and ecological processes in determining the spatial distribution of species. Ecogeographic isolation is the proportion of geographic isolation that results from genetically based ecological differences between taxa and should therefore be measured as an isolating mechanism under the biological species concept. In this study, species distribution modeling was used to evaluate the potential ranges of 12 recently diverged pairs of species in the genus Mimulus. Variation in the distribution models showed that these species differ significantly in the niches they occupy. These differences result in substantial ecogeographic isolation, with an average strength of 0.67, revealing that, on average, Mimulus species exhibit only 33% overlap in the extent of suitable habitat with their closest relatives. Because prezygotic barriers act early in the life cycle of organisms, this strong barrier has the potential to contribute greatly to the total isolation experienced between diverging species. Therefore, ecogeographic isolation appears to play an important role in Mimulus, and estimating the strength of this barrier is essential to our general understanding of speciation.

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