The Interplay Between Selection And Constraints On Adaptive Divergence And Phenotypic Evolution

Fabrice Eroukhmanoff

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)


Under natural or sexual selection, individuals with advantageous traits or
combinations of traits will be more successful than their peers at surviving
and/or reproducing. Provided these traits are heritable, meaning that they
have a genetic basis, the traits combinations which are selected for, will
increase in frequency in the population. When selection is intense and
persistent, adaptive traits may become ubiquitous in the population, and we
may then say that this population has evolved and become adapted.
However, this process might not always occur rapidly. This is because
adaptive evolution occurs only when the individuals of a population are
diverse in their trait combinations and when there is a significant amount of
genetic variation for the trait(s) upon which selection is acting.
However, if the adaptive optimum of a combination of traits is situated in a
direction where there is little variation available, adaptation will be slowed down, and we will say it is constrained. This is precisely what I attempted to study in this thesis. The outcome of the interplay between selection and constraints might lead to evolution, to divergence between populations, and finally to the emergence of new species and biodiversity. By using different statistical techniques used in quantitative genetics or geometric morphometrics, combined with behavioral and breeding experiments, I
tried to draw some conclusions on the role of constraints both in the early
stages of adaptation and divergence (using isopod lake populations as a
model system) and in the latter stages of divergence and speciation (using
damselfly species as model organisms). My main conclusions are that in
the context of strong divergent selection, constraints may be overcome and
adaptation may proceed, provided that gene flow between populations is
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Department of Biology
  • Svensson, Erik, Supervisor
Award date2009 Nov 20
ISBN (Print)978-91-7105-304-6
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2009-11-20
Time: 10:00
Place: Blå Hallen, Ekologihuset, Sölvegatan 37, Lund

External reviewer(s)

Name: Hendry, Andrew
Title: [unknown]
Affiliation: Department of Biology, Mc Gill University, Montreal, Canada


The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Animal Ecology (Closed 2011) (011012001)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Ecology


  • Selection
  • Constraints
  • Adaptive Divergence
  • G-matrix
  • Gene Flow.
  • Speciation


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