Origin of Lake Constance stickleback

Today, my newest paper was published in Nature Communications. In this collaboration with Kay Lucek, Vitor Sousa, Laurent Excoffier and Ole Seehausen, we have reconstructed the evolutionary history of threespine stickleback found in Lake Constance and surrounding rivers.

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Threespine stickleback lake (left) and stream (right) ecotypes of Lake Constance, Central Europe. Females are shown on top and males in nuptial coloration on the bottom.

With extensive demographic modelling and the analysis of both genomic and phenotypic data from the European biogeographic context, we found out where stickleback lake and stream ecotypes come from and whether genetic differences between them arose from new mutations, standing genetic variation or the admixture of old lineages.

Spoiler alert! The title gives it away:

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The evolution of lake and stream ecotypes in Lake Constance is thus a prime example for how combinatorial processes can facilitate rapid speciation.

Enjoy the read of our paper and of this blog post on the Nature Research Ecology & Evolution Community forum outlining the story behind the paper.