Evolutionary biologists have long used behavioral, ecological, and genetic data from contact zones between closely related species to study various phases of the speciation continuum. North America has several concentrations of avian contact zones, where multiple pairs of sister lineages meet, with or without hybridization. In a southern California contact zone, 2 species of woodpeckers, Nuttall's Woodpecker (Dryobates nuttallii) and the Ladder-backed Woodpecker (D. scalaris), occasionally hybridize. We sampled these 2 species in a transect across this contact zone and included samples of their closest relative, the Downy Woodpecker (D. pubescens), to obtain large single nucleotide polymorphism panels using restriction-site associated DNA sequencing (RAD-seq). Furthermore, we used whole-genome resequencing data for 2 individuals per species to identify whether patterns of diversity inferred from RAD-seq were representative of whole-genome diversity. We found that these 3 woodpecker species are genomically distinct. Although low levels of gene flow occur between D. nuttallii and D. scalaris across the contact zone, there was no evidence for widespread genomic introgression between these 2 species. Overall patterns of genomic diversity from the RAD-seq and wholegenome datasets appear to be related to distributional range size and, by extension, are likely related to effective population sizes for each species.
- contact zone
- hybrid zone