Prezygotic barriers to hybridization in marine broadcast spawners: reproductive timing and mating system variation. | - CCMAR -

Journal Article

TitlePrezygotic barriers to hybridization in marine broadcast spawners: reproductive timing and mating system variation.
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsMonteiro, CA, Serrão, EA, Pearson, GA
Year of Publication2012
JournalPLoS One
Date Published2012
KeywordsFucus, Gene Flow, Hybridization, Genetic, Models, Genetic, Ovum, Portugal, Reproduction, Seasons, Species Specificity, Time Factors

Sympatric assemblages of congeners with incomplete reproductive barriers offer the opportunity to study the roles that ecological and non-ecological factors play in reproductive isolation. While interspecific asynchrony in gamete release and gametic incompatibility are known prezygotic barriers to hybridization, the role of mating system variation has been emphasized in plants. Reproductive isolation between the sibling brown algal species Fucus spiralis, Fucus guiryi (selfing hermaphrodite) and Fucus vesiculosus (dioecious) was studied because they form hybrids in parapatry in the rocky intertidal zone, maintain species integrity over a broad geographic range, and have contrasting mating systems. We compared reproductive synchrony (spawning overlap) between the three species at several temporal scales (yearly/seasonal, semilunar/tidal, and hourly during single tides). Interspecific patterns of egg release were coincident at seasonal (single peak in spring to early summer) to semilunar timescales. Synthesis of available data indicated that spawning is controlled by semidiurnal tidal and daily light-dark cues, and not directly by semilunar cycles. Importantly, interspecific shifts in timing detected at the hourly scale during single tides were consistent with a partial ecological prezygotic hybridization barrier. The species displayed patterns of gamete release consistent with a power law distribution, indicating a high degree of reproductive synchrony, while the hypothesis of weaker selective constraints for synchrony in selfing versus outcrossing species was supported by observed spawning in hermaphrodites over a broader range of tidal phase than in outcrossers. Synchronous gamete release is critical to the success of external fertilization, while high-energy intertidal environments may offer only limited windows of reproductive opportunity. Within these windows, however, subtle variations in reproductive timing have evolved with the potential to form ecological barriers to hybridization.


Alternate JournalPLoS ONE
PubMed ID22563429
PubMed Central IDPMC3338553