How and why Species Multiply: The Radiation of Darwin's Finches

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Princeton University Press, 2008 - 218 pages
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Charles Darwin's experiences in the Galápagos Islands in 1835 helped to guide his thoughts toward a revolutionary theory: that species were not fixed but diversified from their ancestors over many generations, and that the driving mechanism of evolutionary change was natural selection. In this concise, accessible book, Peter and Rosemary Grant explain what we have learned about the origin and evolution of new species through the study of the finches made famous by that great scientist: Darwin's finches.

Drawing upon their unique observations of finch evolution over a thirty-four-year period, the Grants trace the evolutionary history of fourteen different species from a shared ancestor three million years ago. They show how repeated cycles of speciation involved adaptive change through natural selection on beak size and shape, and divergence in songs. They explain other factors that drive finch evolution, including geographical isolation, which has kept the Galápagos relatively free of competitors and predators; climate change and an increase in the number of islands over the last three million years, which enhanced opportunities for speciation; and flexibility in the early learning of feeding skills, which helped species to exploit new food resources. Throughout, the Grants show how the laboratory tools of developmental biology and molecular genetics can be combined with observations and experiments on birds in the field to gain deeper insights into why the world is so biologically rich and diverse.

Written by two preeminent evolutionary biologists, How and Why Species Multiply helps to answer fundamental questions about evolution--in the Galápagos and throughout the world.

 

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Contents

The Biodiversity Problem and Darwins Finches
1
The Choice Of Organisms
2
Darwins Finches
3
Diversity Of Darwins Finch Species
5
Species And Populations
8
Overview Of The Book
11
Origins and History
13
Phylogeny
14
Hybridization
92
Why Hybridization Occurs
93
When Hybridization Does Not Occur
96
Hybrid Fitness
97
Introgression On Daphne Major
100
Introgression in the Archipelago
103
Reproductive Character Displacement
105
Evolutionary Significance Of Introgression
106

Ancestors
16
Colonization
17
The Ecological Theater
18
A Change Of Scenery
21
The Evolutionary Play
22
Summary
25
Modes of Speciation
26
Two Groups from One
27
Divergence in Allopatry
28
Coexistence In Sympatry
29
Sympatric Speciation
30
Parapatric Speciation
31
Testing The Models
33
Colonization of an Island
35
Expectations from Theory
36
A Colonization Event
38
Inbreeding
39
An Alternative Phenology of Founder Effects
42
Species Elsewhere
44
Summary
45
Natural Selection Adaptation and Evolution
46
Beak Sizes And Diets
47
Adaptive Evolution When The Environment Changes
50
Natural Selection
52
Evolution
54
Oscillating Directional Selection
55
Extrapolating from Short to Long Term
58
How Beaks Are Formed
59
Summary
63
Ecological Interactions
65
Competition
66
Character Displacement and Release
68
Summary
75
Reproductive Isolation
76
Learning
79
Song Differences between Species
80
Song Divergence in Allopatry
81
Simulating Secondary Contact
88
Summary
91
Summary
107
Species and Speciation
108
What Is a Species?
109
A Working Definition
110
How Many Species Of Darwins Finches?
111
From Product Back To Process
114
Fission And Fusion
116
Summary
119
Reconstructing the Radiation of Darwins Finches
120
The Shape Of The Radiation
121
Speciation And Extinction
123
Adaptive Landscape
128
A Pattern Of Ecological Segregation
133
Specialization
134
Summary
135
Facilitators of Adaptive Radiation
137
Environmental Opportunity
138
Geographical Suitability
139
Ecological Opportunity
140
High Diversification Potential
142
Introgressive Hybridization
145
Finches versus Mockingbirds
148
Summary
150
The Life History of Adaptive Radiations
152
The First Stage of Adaptive Radiation
153
The Second Stage of Adaptive Radiation
154
Haldanes Rule
157
The Third Stage of Adaptive Radiation
158
Synthesis
160
Summary
162
Summary of the Darwins Finch Radiation
163
What Is Missing?
165
Epilogue
166
Glossary
168
References
175
Author Index
201
Subject Index
210
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Peter R. Grant is the Class of 1877 Professor of Zoology at Princeton University. His books include "Ecology and Evolution of Darwin's Finches" (Princeton). B. Rosemary Grant is a senior research scholar in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University. She is the coauthor, with Peter R. Grant, of "Evolutionary Dynamics of a Natural Population: The Large Cactus Finch of the Galapagos".

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