Reconciling innovation and adaptation during recurrent colonization of urban environments: Molecular, genetic, and developmental bases

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

This chapter explores the developmental and evolutionary origins of beak modifications in the house finch (Carpodacus mexicanus)- modifications that have been linked to the exceptional success of this species in urban environments. First, it describes morphological divergence in and natural selection on beak configurations across urban and natural populations. Second, it examines ways in which innovation and adaptation can be reconciled during adaptive diversifications of beaks. Third, it discusses developmental and genetic basis of such cycles of divergence and convergence to urban adaptations and the ways by which ontogenetic mechanisms can accomplish precise, diverse, and yet reversible adaptations in beak configurations. It suggests that both urban adaptations and population divergence were facilitated by modular organization of beak development, where small regulatory changes in conserved molecular growth factors and significant functional redundancy in resulting configurations produce a wide range of adaptive beak modifications. The chapter concludes with a preliminary analysis of the molecular basis behind such adaptive evolution and directions for future studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAvian Urban Ecology
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191810176
ISBN (Print)9780199661572
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 14 2013

Keywords

  • Beak configurations
  • Beak modifications
  • Carpodacus mexicanus adaptations
  • House finch
  • Urban birds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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