Convergence and Divergence in Cichlid Fishes

CEES Extra seminar by Walter Salzburger


Cichlid fishes of the East African Great Lakes are a prime model system to study the mechanisms and triggers of organismal diversification. Lakes Tanganyika, Malawi, and Victoria are each teeming with a unique set of hundreds of endemic cichlid species, which are likely to have evolved in the last few millions to several thousands of years only. East Africa’s cichlid species differ greatly in ecologically relevant, hence naturally selected, characters such as mouth morphology and body shape, but also in sexually selected traits such as coloration. One of the most fascinating aspects of (cichlid) evolution is the frequent occurrence of evolutionary parallelisms between independent adaptive radiations, which has led to the question whether selection alone is sufficient to produce these parallel morphologies, or whether a developmental or genetic bias has influenced the direction of diversification. Here, I present our recent results on convergent evolution and its genetic basis between radiations but also within a single adaptive radiation, the cichlid species flock of Lake Tanganyika.

Walter Salzburger
Zoological Institute, University of Basel, Switzerland


Published June 2, 2013 11:55 AM