Seabird and louse coevolution: complex histories revealed by 12S rRNA sequences and reconciliation analyses

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2000
Authors:A. M. Paterson, Wallis, G. P., Wallis, L. J., Gray, R. D.
Journal:Systematic Biology
Pagination:383 - 399
Date Published:2000
ISBN Number:1063-5157
Keywords:animals, Base Sequence, bird, evolution, host parasite, Lice/classification/genetics, phylogeny, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't, RNA, Ribosomal/genetics, Seawater, variation

We investigated the coevolutionary history of seabirds (orders Procellariiformes and Sphenisciformes) and their lice (order Phthiraptera). Independent trees were produced for the seabirds (tree derived from 12S ribosomal RNA, isoenzyme, and behavioral data) and their lice (trees derived from 12S rRNA data). Brook's parsimony analysis (BPA) supported a general history of cospeciation (consistency index = 0.84, retention index = 0.81). We inferred that the homoplasy in the BPA was caused by one intrahost speciation, one potential host-switching, and eight or nine sorting events. Using reconciliation analysis, we quantified the cost of fitting the louse tree onto the seabird tree. The reconciled trees postulated one host-switching, nine cospeciation, three or four intrahost speciation, and 11 to 14 sorting events. The number of cospeciation events was significantly more than would be expected from chance alone (P < 0.01). The sequence data were used to test for rate heterogeneity for both seabirds and lice. Neither data set displayed significant rate heterogeneity. An examination of the codivergent nodes revealed that seabirds and lice have cospeciated synchronously and that lice have evolved at approximately 5.5 times the rate of seabirds. The degree of sequence divergence supported some of the postulated intrahost speciation events (e.g., Halipeurus predated the evolution of their present hosts). The sequence data also supported some of the postulated host-switching events. These results demonstrate the value of sequence data and reconciliation analyses in unraveling complex histories between hosts and their parasites.

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