Selection-Based Biodiversity at a Small Spatial Scale in a Low-Dispersing Insular Bird

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Science  27 Aug 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5432, pp. 1399-1402
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5432.1399

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The blue tit is a highly mobile small passerine found in deciduous and evergreen oaks. In mainland populations, gene flow results in local maladaptive timing of breeding in evergreen oak forests, the rarer habitat. However, on the island of Corsica, two populations only 25 kilometers apart are highly specialized and differ between the two habitat types in breeding and morphological traits. In contrast to theoretical predictions about the homogenizing effects of gene flow, this highlights evolutionary consequences of habitat diversification and isolation at a small spatial scale in insular organisms, which should be taken into account in conservation policies.

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