Sympatric serpentine endemic Monardella (Lamiaceae) Species Maintain Habitat Differences Despite Hybridization
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Published in Molecular Ecology, Volume 27, Issue 9, May 1, 2018, pages 2302-2316.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.14582.
Ecological differentiation and genetic isolation are thought to be critical in facilitating coexistence between related species, but the relative importance of these phenomena and the interactions between them are not well understood. Here, we examine divergence in abiotic habitat affinity and the extent of hybridization and introgression between two rare species of Monardella (Lamiaceae) that are both restricted to the same serpentine soil exposure in California. Although broadly sympatric, they are found in microhabitats that differ consistently in soil chemistry, slope, rockiness and vegetation. We identify one active hybrid zone at a site with intermediate soil and above-ground characteristics, and we document admixture patterns indicative of extensive and asymmetric introgression from one species into the other. We find that genetic distance among heterospecific populations is related to geographic distance, such that the extent of apparent introgression is partly explained by the spatial proximity to the hybrid zone. Our work shows that plant species can maintain morphological and ecological integrity in the face of weak genetic isolation, intermediate habitats can facilitate the establishment of hybrids, and that the degree of apparent introgression a population experiences is related to its geographic location rather than its local habitat characteristics.
© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
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