Drivers of range expansion in a pair of sister grackle species
The role of climate change and niche shifts in divergent range dynamics of a sister-species pair
Recommendation: posted 03 February 2023, validated 03 February 2023
Sebastián González, E. (2023) Drivers of range expansion in a pair of sister grackle species. Peer Community in Ecology, 100424. https://doi.org/10.24072/pci.ecology.100424
The spatial distribution of a species is driven by both biotic and abiotic factors that may change over time (Soberón & Nakamura, 2009; Paquette & Hargreaves, 2021). Therefore, species ranges are dynamic, especially in humanized landscapes where changes occur at high speeds (Sirén & Morelli, 2020). The distribution of many species is being reduced because of human impacts; however, some species are expanding their distributions, even over their niche (Lustenhouwer & Parker, 2022). One of the factors that may lead to a geographic niche expansion is behavioral flexibility (Mikhalevich et al., 2017), but the mechanisms determining range expansion through behavioral changes are not fully understood.
The PCI Ecology study by Summers et al. (2023) uses a very large database on the current and historic distribution of two species of grackles that have shown different trends in their distribution. The great-tailed grackle has largely expanded its range over the 20th century, while the range of the boat-tailed grackle has remained very similar. They take advantage of this differential response in the distribution of the two species and run several analyses to test whether it was a change in habitat availability, in the realized niche, in habitat connectivity or in in the other traits or conditions that previously limited the species range, what is driving the observed distribution of the species. The study finds a change in the niche of great-tailed grackle, consistent with the high behavioral flexibility of the species.
The two reviewers and I have seen a lot of value in this study because 1) it addresses a very timely question, especially in the current changing world; 2) it is a first step to better understanding if behavioral attributes may affect species’ ability to change their niche; 3) it contrasts the results using several complementary statistical analyses, reinforcing their conclusions; 4) it is based on the preregistration Logan et al (2021), and any deviations from it are carefully explained and justified in the text and 5) the limitations of the study have been carefully discussed. It remains to know if the boat-tailed grackle has more limited behavioral flexibility than the great-tailed grackle, further confirming the results of this study.
Logan CJ, McCune KB, Chen N, Lukas D (2021) Implementing a rapid geographic range expansion - the role of behavior and habitat changes. http://corinalogan.com/Preregistrations/gxpopbehaviorhabitat.html
Lustenhouwer N, Parker IM (2022) Beyond tracking climate: Niche shifts during native range expansion and their implications for novel invasions. Journal of Biogeography, 49, 1481–1493. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.14395
Mikhalevich I, Powell R, Logan C (2017) Is behavioural flexibility evidence of cognitive complexity? How evolution can inform comparative cognition. Interface Focus, 7, 20160121. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsfs.2016.0121
Paquette A, Hargreaves AL (2021) Biotic interactions are more often important at species’ warm versus cool range edges. Ecology Letters, 24, 2427–2438. https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.13864
Sirén APK, Morelli TL (2020) Interactive range-limit theory (iRLT): An extension for predicting range shifts. Journal of Animal Ecology, 89, 940–954. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.13150
Soberón J, Nakamura M (2009) Niches and distributional areas: Concepts, methods, and assumptions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106, 19644–19650. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0901637106
Summers JT, Lukas D, Logan CJ, Chen N (2022) The role of climate change and niche shifts in divergent range dynamics of a sister-species pair. EcoEvoRxiv, ver. 3 peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Ecology. https://doi.org/10.32942/osf.io/879pe
The recommender in charge of the evaluation of the article and the reviewers declared that they have no conflict of interest (as defined in the code of conduct of PCI) with the authors or with the content of the article. The authors declared that they comply with the PCI rule of having no financial conflicts of interest in relation to the content of the article.
J Summers was supported by NIH grant R35GM133412 to N Chen
Evaluation round #2
DOI or URL of the preprint: https://doi.org/10.32942/osf.io/879pe
Version of the preprint: 2
Author's Reply, 27 Jan 2023
Decision by Esther Sebastián González, posted 22 Dec 2022, validated 22 Dec 2022
Please, I am very sorry this took so long. I was waiting for a second review that finally did not come. However, one of the reviewers was able to re-read your study and is very happy with the changes performed. He/she only has some minor comments that I think can help to improve a little bit more the quality of the paper.
On my side, I only have a few minor comments to add to those of the reviewer:
- Lines 61-64. Is there any empirical evidence of this? If so, please add a reference, it is not clear to me if this is something that is known of something you expect.
- Lines 80-99. You specify in the abstract that the great-tailed grackle is more
- Behaviorally flexible than the boat-tailed grackle, but this information is not included in the introduction, and I think it is important to fully understand your story. Maybe you can add a brief sentence about it in this paragraph.
- Lines 153-154. You briefly explain how you tested hypotheses 1-4, why didn’t you include hypothesis 4 here? Maybe you can add a brief explanation also.
- Line 225: There is a missing space in “usedata”
Looking forward to a revised version.
Reviewed by anonymous reviewer 2, 01 Dec 2022
Evaluation round #1
DOI or URL of the preprint: https://doi.org/10.32942/osf.io/879pe
Version of the preprint: 1
Author's Reply, 19 Nov 2022
Decision by Esther Sebastián González, posted 02 Sep 2022
Thank you very much for a very nice study. It has now been reviewed by two recognized researchers working on the field. As both reviewers say, and I agree, your study is very valuable and is well-conducted. However, the reviewers have also raised some interesting points that shoud be addressed or clarified and I think that accounting for them will increase the quality of the preprint.
Therefore, I invite you to respond to these comments and to revise your text accordingly.
I am looking forward your revised text,