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Temporally varying disruptive selection in the medium ground finch (Geospiza fortis).

Cite this dataset

Beausoleil, Marc-Olivier et al. (2019). Temporally varying disruptive selection in the medium ground finch (Geospiza fortis). [Dataset]. Dryad.


Disruptive natural selection within populations exploiting different resources is considered to be a major driver of adaptive radiation and the production of biodiversity. Fitness functions, which describe the relationships between trait variation and fitness, can help to illuminate how this disruptive selection leads to population differentiation. However, a single fitness function represents only a particular selection regime over a single specified time period (often a single season or a year), and therefore might not capture longer-term dynamics. Here, we build a series of annual fitness functions that quantify the relationships between phenotype and apparent survival. These functions are based on a nine-year mark-recapture dataset of over 600 medium ground finches (Geospiza fortis) within a population bimodal for beak size. We then relate changes in the shape of these functions to climate variables. We find that disruptive selection between small and large beak morphotypes, as reported previously for two years, is present throughout the study period, but that the intensity of this selection varies in association with the harshness of environment. In particular, we find that disruptive selection was strongest when precipitation was high during the dry season of the previous year. Our results shed light on climatic factors associated with disruptive selection in Darwin’s finches, and highlight the role of temporally varying fitness functions in modulating the extent of population differentiation.