Repeatability of Adaptive Radiation Depends on Spatial Scale: Regional Versus Global Replicates of Stickleback in Lake Versus Stream Habitats

Antoine Paccard, Dieta Hanson, Yoel E. Stuart, Frank A. Von Hippel, Martin Kalbe, Tom Klepaker, Skúli Skúlason, Bjarni K. Kristjánsson, Daniel I. Bolnick, Andrew P. Hendry, Rowan D.H. Barrett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The repeatability of adaptive radiation is expected to be scale-dependent, with determinism decreasing as greater spatial separation among "replicates" leads to their increased genetic and ecological independence. Threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) provide an opportunity to test whether this expectation holds for the early stages of adaptive radiation - their diversification in freshwater ecosystems has been replicated many times. To better understand the repeatability of that adaptive radiation, we examined the influence of geographic scale on levels of parallel evolution by quantifying phenotypic and genetic divergence between lake and stream stickleback pairs sampled at regional (Vancouver Island) and global (North America and Europe) scales. We measured phenotypes known to show lake-stream divergence and used reduced representation genome-wide sequencing to estimate genetic divergence. We assessed the scale dependence of parallel evolution by comparing effect sizes from multivariate models and also the direction and magnitude of lake-stream divergence vectors. At the phenotypic level, parallelism was greater at the regional than the global scale. At the genetic level, putative selected loci showed greater lake-stream parallelism at the regional than the global scale. Generally, the level of parallel evolution was low at both scales, except for some key univariate traits. Divergence vectors were often orthogonal, highlighting possible ecological and genetic constraints on parallel evolution at both scales. Overall, our results confirm that the repeatability of adaptive radiation decreases at increasing spatial scales. We suggest that greater environmental heterogeneity at larger scales imposes different selection regimes, thus generating lower repeatability of adaptive radiation at larger spatial scales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-56
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Heredity
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 5 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Gasterosteus aculeatus
  • adaptive radiation
  • convergent evolution
  • geographic scale
  • parallel evolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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