How Likely Is Speciation in Neutral Ecology?
PublisherUniversity of Chicago Press
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Patterns of biodiversity predicted by the neutral theory rely on a simple phenomenological model of speciation. To further investigate the effect of speciation on neutral biodiversity, we analyze a spatially explicit neutral model based on population genetics. We define the metacommunity as a system of populations exchanging migrants, and we use this framework to introduce speciation with little or no gene flow (allopatric and parapatric speciation). We find that with realistic mutation rates, our metacommunity model driven by neutral processes cannot support more than a few species. Adding natural selection in the population genetics of speciation increases the number of species in the metacommunity, but the level of diversity found in the Barro Colorado Island is difficult to reach.