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Data from: Rapid buildup of sympatric species diversity in Alpine whitefish

Cite this dataset

Doenz, Carmela J. et al. (2019). Data from: Rapid buildup of sympatric species diversity in Alpine whitefish [Dataset]. Dryad.


Adaptive radiations in postglacial fish offer excellent settings to study the evolutionary mechanisms involved in the rapid buildup of sympatric species diversity from a single lineage. Here, we address this by exploring the genetic and ecological structure of the largest Alpine whitefish radiation known, that of Lakes Brienz and Thun, using microsatellite data of more than 2000 whitefish caught during extensive species‐targeted and habitat‐randomized fishing campaigns. We find six strongly genetically and ecologically differentiated species, four of which occur in both lakes, and one of which was previously unknown. These four exhibit clines of genetic differentiation that are paralleled in clines of eco‐morphological and reproductive niche differentiation, consistent with models of sympatric ecological speciation along environmental gradients. In Lake Thun, we find two additional species, a profundal specialist and a species introduced in the 1930s from another Alpine whitefish radiation. Strong genetic differentiation between this introduced species and all native species of Lake Thun suggests that reproductive isolation can evolve among allopatric whitefish species within 15,000 years and persist in secondary sympatry. Consistent with speciation theory, we find stronger correlations between genetic and ecological differentiation for sympatrically than for allopatrically evolved species.

Usage notes


Lake Brienz
Lake Thun