Polyploid speciation entails substantial and rapid postzygotic reproductive isolation of nascent species that are initially sympatric with one or both parents. Despite strong postzygotic isolation, ecological niche differentiation has long been thought to be important for polyploid success. Using biogeographic data from across vascular plants, we tested whether the climatic niches of polyploid species are more differentiated than their diploid relatives and if the climatic niches of polyploid species differentiated faster than those of related diploids. We found that polyploids are often more climatically differentiated from their diploid parents than the diploids are from each other. Consistent with this pattern, we estimated that polyploid species generally have higher rates of multivariate niche differentiation than their diploid relatives. In contrast to recent analyses, our results confirm that ecological niche differentiation is an important component of polyploid speciation and that niche differentiation is often significantly faster in polyploids.
- Climatic niche
- niche breadth
- sympatric speciation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics