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TESTS FOR ANCIENT SPECIES FLOCKS BASED ON MOLECULAR PHYLOGENETIC APPRAISALS OF SEBASTES ROCKFISHES AND OTHER MARINE FISHES.

  • Author(s): Johns, Glenn C
  • Avise, John C
  • et al.
Abstract

The concept of species flocks has been central to previous interpretations of patterns and processes of explosive species radiations within several groups of freshwater fishes. Here, molecular phytogenies of species-rich Sebastes rockfishes from the northeastern Pacific Ocean were used to test predictions of null theoretical models that assume random temporal placements of phylogenetic nodes. Similar appraisals were conducted using molecular data previously published for particular cichlid fishes in Africa that epitomize, by virtue of a rapid and recent radiation of species, the traditional concept of an intralacustrine "species flock." As gauged by the magnitudes of genetic divergence in cytochrome b sequences from mitochondrial DNA, as well as in allozymes, most speciation events in the Sebastes complex were far more ancient than those in the cichlids. However, statistical tests of the nodal placements in the Sebastes phylogeny suggest that speciation events in the rockfishes were temporally nonrandom, with significant clustering of cladogenetic events in time. Similar conclusions also apply to an ancient complex of icefishes (within the Notothenioidei) analyzed in the same fashion. Thus, the rockfishes (and icefishes) may be interpreted as ancient species flocks in the marine realm. The analyses exemplified in this report introduce a conceptual and operational approach for extending the concept of species flocks to additional environmental settings and evolutionary timescales.

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