Rugged adaptive landscapes shape a complex, sympatric radiation
Strong disruptive ecological selection can initiate speciation, even in the absence of physical isolation of diverging populations. Species evolving under disruptive ecological selection are expected to be ecologically distinct but, at least initially, genetically weakly differentiated. Strong selection and the associated fitness advantages of narrowly adapted individuals, coupled with assortative mating, are predicted to overcome the homogenizing effects of gene flow. Theoretical plausibility is, however, contrasted by limited evidence for the existence of rugged adaptive landscapes in nature. We found
evidence for multiple, disruptive ecological selection regimes that have promoted divergence in the sympatric, incipient radiation of ‘sharpfin’ sailfin silverside fishes in ancient Lake Matano (Sulawesi, Indonesia). Various modes of ecological specialization have led to adaptive morphological differences
between the species, and differently adapted morphs display significant but
incomplete reproductive isolation. Individual fitness and variation in morphological
key characters show that disruptive selection shapes a rugged adaptive
landscape in this small but complex incipient lake fish radiation.