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Inconsistent reproductive isolation revealed by interactions between Catostomus fish species
AuthorMandeville, Elizabeth G.
Parchman, Thomas L.
Thompson, Kevin G.
Gelwicks, Kevin R.
Song, Se Jin
Buerkle, C. Alex
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Interactions between species are central to evolution and ecology, but we do not know enough about how outcomes of interactions between species vary across geographic locations, in heterogeneous environments, or over time. Ecological dimensions of interactions between species are known to vary, but evolutionary interactions such as the establishment and maintenance of reproductive isolation are often assumed to be consistent across instances of an interaction between species. Hybridization among Catostomus fish species occurs over a large and heterogeneous geographic area and across taxa with distinct evolutionary histories, which allows us to assess consistency in species interactions. We analyzed hybridization among six Catostomus species across the Upper Colorado River basin (US mountain west) and found extreme variation in hybridization across locations. Different hybrid crosses were present in different locations, despite similar species assemblages. Within hybrid crosses, hybridization varied from only first generation hybrids to extensive hybridization with backcrossing. Variation in hybridization outcomes might result from uneven fitness of hybrids across locations, polymorphism in genetic incompatibilities, chance, unidentified historical contingencies, or some combination thereof. Our results suggest caution in assuming that one or a few instances of hybridization represent all interactions between the focal species, as species interactions vary substantially across locations.