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Data from: Closely related species of birds differ more in body size when their ranges overlap—in warm, but not cool, climates

Citation

Bothwell, Emma; Montgomerie, Robert; Lougheed, Stephen C.; Martin, Paul R. (2015), Data from: Closely related species of birds differ more in body size when their ranges overlap—in warm, but not cool, climates, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.v5h5f

Abstract

Differences in body size are widely thought to allow closely related species to coexist in sympatry, but body size also varies as an adaptive response to climate. Here, we use a sister lineage approach to test the prediction that body size differences between closely related species of birds worldwide are greater for species whose ranges are sympatric rather than allopatric. We further test if body size differences among sympatric versus allopatric species vary with geography, evolutionary distance, and environmental temperatures. We find greater differences in size among sympatric compared with allopatric lineages, but only in closely related species that live where mean annual temperatures are above 25°C. These size differences in warm environments declined with the evolutionary distance between sister lineages. In species living in cooler regions, closely related allopatric and sympatric species did not differ significantly in size, suggesting either that colder temperatures constrain the evolutionary divergence of size in sympatry, or that the biotic selective pressures favoring size differences in sympatry are weaker in colder environments. Our results are consistent with suggestions by Wallace, Darwin, and Dobzhansky that climatic selective pressures are more important in cooler environments (e.g., high elevations and latitudes) while biotic selective pressures dominate in warm environments (e.g., lowland tropics).

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