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The role of ecological divergence in speciation between intertidal and subtidal Scoloplos armiger (Polychaeta, Orbiniidae)
Kruse, I.; Strasser, M.; Thiermann, F. (2004). The role of ecological divergence in speciation between intertidal and subtidal Scoloplos armiger (Polychaeta, Orbiniidae). J. Sea Res. 51(1): 53-62.
In: Journal of Sea Research. Elsevier/Netherlands Institute for Sea Research: Amsterdam; Den Burg. ISSN 1385-1101, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Biological speciation; Divergence; Ecotypes; Habitat selection; Intertidal environment; Sibling species; Tidal flats; Tolerance; Scoloplos armiger (Müller, 1776) [WoRMS]; ANE, Wadden Sea [Marine Regions]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Kruse, I.
  • Strasser, M.
  • Thiermann, F.

    The concept of ecological speciation implies that habitat differences may split a species by strong selection and rapid adaptation even under sympatric conditions. Studies on the polychaete Scoloplos armiger in the Wadden Sea (North Sea) indicate sibling species existing in sympatry: the intertidal ‘Type I’ with holobenthic development out of egg cocoons and the subtidal ‘Type S’ producing pelagic larvae. In the current study, Types I and S are compared in habitat-related traits of reproductive timing and physiological response to hypoxia and sulphide. Spawnings of Type I and Type S recorded over six years overlap in spring and both appear to be triggered by a rise in seawater temperature above 5 °C. Type S exhibits an additional autumn spawning (at seawater temperatures around 10 °C) which was previously unknown and is absent in Type I. The overall abundance of pelagic larvae in the Wadden Sea is higher in spring than in autumn. Tolerance of both sulphide and hypoxia was lower in Type S than in Type I. This correlates with a 5 to 10-fold lower sulphide concentration in the subtidal compared to the intertidal habitat. Physiological tolerance and divergence in developmental mode appear as traits which may have led to reproductive isolation between Type I and Type S. Their role in allopatric and sympatric speciation scenarios in S. armiger is discussed. Since the pelagic dispersal mode has been neglected so far, a reassessment of population dynamics models for S. armiger is suggested.

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