Testing for evolutionary trade-offs in a phylogenetic context: Ecological diversification and evolution of locomotor performance in emydid turtles

P. R. Stephens, John J Wiens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The evolution of ecological trade-offs is an important component of ecological specialization and adaptive radiation. However, the pattern that would show that evolutionary trade-offs have occurred between traits among species has not been clearly defined. In this paper, we propose a phylogeny-based definition of an evolutionary trade-off, and apply it to an analysis of the evolution of trade-offs in locomotor performance in emydid turtles. We quantified aquatic and terrestrial speed and endurance for up to 16 species, including aquatic, semi-terrestrial and terrestrial emydids. Emydid phylogeny was reconstructed from morphological characters and nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences. Surprisingly, we find that there have been no trade-offs in aquatic and terrestrial speed among species. Instead, specialization to aquatic and terrestrial habitats seems to have involved trade-offs in speed and endurance. Given that trade-offs between speed and endurance may be widespread, they may underlie specialization to different habitats in many other groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-87
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Turtles
turtle
turtles
Phylogeny
phylogenetics
Ecosystem
phylogeny
testing
Mitochondrial DNA
Radiation
adaptive radiation
habitat
habitats
mitochondrial DNA
nuclear genome
trade-off
nucleotide sequences
speed

Keywords

  • Ancestral character reconstruction
  • Comparative methods
  • Ecological specialization
  • Locomotor performance
  • Phylogeny
  • Trade-offs
  • Turtles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Palaeontology
  • Genetics

Cite this

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