Descendent populations of chaffinches (Fringilla coelebs) introduced to New Zealand about 120 years ago were compared with "ancestral" populations in northern Europe and with those in a broader region of Europe (including Iberia) using protein electrophoresis at 42 loci and 12 skeletal measurements. The New Zealand populations exhibit very small scale differentiation in genetics (Fst = 0.040) and morphometrics, and the haphazard pattern of among-population variation does not align with environmental variation nor is it predicted by the geographic proximity of populations. Thus random drift is implicated in the differentiation among the descendent populations. The New Zealand chaffinches have diverged only slightly in morphometrics from an extant population in southern England, and constant heritability rate tests suggest that random drift alone could account for this small shift. In sharp contrast, the European populations are subdivided genetically (Fst = 0.222) and morphometrically, and this subdivision coincides with the Pyrenees mountains between Iberia and northern Europe which act as a barrier to gene flow between these regions. Iberian populations have smaller skulls and longer wings on average than northern European populations and are characterized by high frequencies of alternative common alleles at Ada and Np. Within both the Iberian and northern European regions, however, populations are effectively panmictic in protein-encoding genes, indicating that homogenizing gene flow is apparently extensive enough to prevent among-population differentiation in allozymes by drift. Variation in body size as represented by PC I is related to environmental productivity across Europe, unlike in New Zealand. These observations jointly suggest that longer term adaptive differentiation via selection for optimal body size has evolved in Europe. Because multilocus evolution is expected to proceed slowly in populations subject to the opposing forces of selection and homogenizing gene flow, I argue that local adaptation within "ancestral" populations in northern Europe may still be evolving.

Full Text

Published Version
Open DOI Link

Get access to 115M+ research papers

Discover from 40M+ Open access, 2M+ Pre-prints, 9.5M Topics and 32K+ Journals.

Sign Up Now! It's FREE

Talk to us

Join us for a 30 min session where you can share your feedback and ask us any queries you have

Schedule a call