Mechanisms of Speciation in Plants and Animals
This paper provides background on the basic mechanisms of speciation and then compares the three different ways that species can form in plants and animals.
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This paper examines the three basic steps required before speciation: geographic or genetic isolation of individuals, either through a physical barrier (as in allopatric speciation) through differential habitat preferences (as in parapatric and sympatric speciation) and genetic divergence.
“The Earth is home to an estimated 13 million species. The roots of this remarkable biodiversity can be found in the process of speciation, the slow accumulation of genetic differences that eventually prevents the exchange of genes between two populations of plants or animals. Speciation results when genetically diverse groups of individuals become reproductively isolated from one another. This isolation can be caused by extrinsic factors, such as geographical or temporal separation, or intrinsic factors, such as differences in courtship signals or dispersal ability. For both plants and animals, speciation can be allopatric if populations become separated due to geographic isolation, parapatric if hybrid zones are formed in areas of habitat overlap, or sympatric if niche specialization and reinforcement of reproductive isolating mechanisms takes place.”