Nosil, P., Crespi, B.J. and Sandoval, C.P. (2002) Host-Plant Adaptation Drives the Parallel Evolution of Reproductive Isolation. Nature, 417, 440-443.
ABSTRACT: An individual-based model, EcoSim, was employed to investigate if specialized resource use could promote sympatric speciation. Prey individuals in the original version of EcoSim were supplied with a single primary food resource. A dual resource version with different food resources (Food 1 and Food 2) was also developed to create favorable conditions for the emergence of specialized food consumption among prey individuals. The single resource version was used as the control to determine the impact of the presence of multiple food resources on the occurrence of sympatric speciation. Each unit of Food 2 contained a higher amount of energy than Food 1, and Food 1 was more accessible than Food 2. Initially, prey individuals mostly fed on Food 1. How-ever, after the emergence of food specialization, the consumption rate of Food 2 signifi-cantly exceeded the consumption rate of Food 1; although prey individuals more frequently encountered Food 1. While sympatric speciation was observed in the dual resource version runs, we could not identify any sympatric species in the single resource version runs. Machine learning techniques were also employed to identify the most influential initial conditions leading to sympatric speciation. According to the obtained results, in most lineages sympatric speciation occurred at the beginning of the food specialization pro-cess. When the lineage had a high special diversity, the lineage needed two different criteria to diverge sympatrically: possessing high genetic diversity and a large population size. In support of previous findings, this study demonstrated that the most accurate determination of initial conditions leading to sympatric speciation can be obtained from lineages that are at the beginning of the divergence process. In conclusion, this study indicated that divergent foraging behavior could potentially lead to the sympatric emergence of new species in the absence of geographic isolation.