From song dialects to speciation in white-crowned sparrows

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

Abstract

The behavioural signals used in mate selection are a key component in the evolution of premating isolating barriers and, subsequently, the formation of new species. The importance of mating signals has a long tradition of study in songbirds, where many species differ in their song characteristics. In oscine songbirds, individual birds usually learn their songs from a tutor. Mistakes during learning can help generate geographic dialects, akin to those within human language groups. In songbirds, dialect differences can often be substantial and there is an intuitive connection between the evolution of song amongst populations at a small scale, and the more substantive song differences between bird species and presumably used in species recognition. However, studies investigating the concordance between putative genetic and behavioural boundaries have generated mixed results. In many cases, this is possibly a function of the poor resolving power of the genetic markers employed. In this issue of Molecular Ecology, Lipshutz et al. () combine genomic markers with a robust behavioural assay to address the importance of song variation amongst white-crowned sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) subspecies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2842-2844
Number of pages3
JournalMolecular ecology
Volume26
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017

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Sparrows
Passeriformes
Music
song
Songbirds
animal communication
songbird
songbirds
Birds
Behavioral Genetics
molecular ecology
genetic markers
birds
genetic marker
Ecology
Marriage
Genetic Markers
subspecies
genomics
Language

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics

Cite this

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abstract = "The behavioural signals used in mate selection are a key component in the evolution of premating isolating barriers and, subsequently, the formation of new species. The importance of mating signals has a long tradition of study in songbirds, where many species differ in their song characteristics. In oscine songbirds, individual birds usually learn their songs from a tutor. Mistakes during learning can help generate geographic dialects, akin to those within human language groups. In songbirds, dialect differences can often be substantial and there is an intuitive connection between the evolution of song amongst populations at a small scale, and the more substantive song differences between bird species and presumably used in species recognition. However, studies investigating the concordance between putative genetic and behavioural boundaries have generated mixed results. In many cases, this is possibly a function of the poor resolving power of the genetic markers employed. In this issue of Molecular Ecology, Lipshutz et al. () combine genomic markers with a robust behavioural assay to address the importance of song variation amongst white-crowned sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) subspecies.",
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From song dialects to speciation in white-crowned sparrows. / Toews, David.

In: Molecular ecology, Vol. 26, No. 11, 01.06.2017, p. 2842-2844.

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

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AU - Toews, David

PY - 2017/6/1

Y1 - 2017/6/1

N2 - The behavioural signals used in mate selection are a key component in the evolution of premating isolating barriers and, subsequently, the formation of new species. The importance of mating signals has a long tradition of study in songbirds, where many species differ in their song characteristics. In oscine songbirds, individual birds usually learn their songs from a tutor. Mistakes during learning can help generate geographic dialects, akin to those within human language groups. In songbirds, dialect differences can often be substantial and there is an intuitive connection between the evolution of song amongst populations at a small scale, and the more substantive song differences between bird species and presumably used in species recognition. However, studies investigating the concordance between putative genetic and behavioural boundaries have generated mixed results. In many cases, this is possibly a function of the poor resolving power of the genetic markers employed. In this issue of Molecular Ecology, Lipshutz et al. () combine genomic markers with a robust behavioural assay to address the importance of song variation amongst white-crowned sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) subspecies.

AB - The behavioural signals used in mate selection are a key component in the evolution of premating isolating barriers and, subsequently, the formation of new species. The importance of mating signals has a long tradition of study in songbirds, where many species differ in their song characteristics. In oscine songbirds, individual birds usually learn their songs from a tutor. Mistakes during learning can help generate geographic dialects, akin to those within human language groups. In songbirds, dialect differences can often be substantial and there is an intuitive connection between the evolution of song amongst populations at a small scale, and the more substantive song differences between bird species and presumably used in species recognition. However, studies investigating the concordance between putative genetic and behavioural boundaries have generated mixed results. In many cases, this is possibly a function of the poor resolving power of the genetic markers employed. In this issue of Molecular Ecology, Lipshutz et al. () combine genomic markers with a robust behavioural assay to address the importance of song variation amongst white-crowned sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) subspecies.

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