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Supplementary methods, figures and tables from Range-wide spatial mapping reveals convergent character displacement of bird song

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journal contribution
posted on 10.04.2019 by Alexander N. G. Kirschel, Nathalie Seddon, Joseph A. Tobias
A long-held view in evolutionary biology is that character displacement generates divergent phenotypes in closely related coexisting species to avoid the costs of hybridization or ecological competition, whereas an alternative possibility is that signals of dominance or aggression may instead converge to facilitate coexistence among ecological competitors. Although this counterintuitive process—termed convergent agonistic character displacement—is supported by recent theoretical and empirical studies, the extent to which it drives spatial patterns of trait evolution at continental scales remains unclear. By modelling variation in song structure of two ecologically similar species of Hypocnemis antbird across Western Amazonia, we show that their territorial signals converge such that trait similarity peaks in the sympatric zone, where intense interspecific territoriality between these taxa has previously been demonstrated. We also use remote sensing data to show that signal convergence is not explained by environmental gradients and is thus unlikely to evolve by sensory drive (i.e. acoustic adaptation to the sound transmission properties of habitats). Our results suggest that agonistic character displacement driven by interspecific competition can generate spatial patterns opposite to those predicted by classic character displacement theory, and highlight the potential role of social selection in shaping geographical variation in signal phenotypes of ecological competitors.