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Durham University

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Publication details for Dr Jonathan Drury

Cowen, M.C., Drury, J.P. & Grether, G.F. (2020). Multiple routes to interspecific territoriality in sister species of North American perching birds. Evolution 74(9): 2134-2148.

Author(s) from Durham


Behavioral interference between species can influence a wide range of ecological and evolutionary processes. Here we test foundational hypotheses regarding the origins and maintenance of interspecific territoriality, and evaluate the role of interspecific territoriality and hybridization in shaping species distributions and transitions from parapatry to sympatry in sister species of North American perching birds (Passeriformes). We find that interspecific territoriality is pervasive among sympatric sister species pairs, and that interspecifically territorial species pairs have diverged more recently than sympatric non‐interspecifically territorial pairs. None of the foundational hypotheses alone explains the observed patterns of interspecific territoriality, but our results support the idea that some cases of interspecific territoriality arise from misdirected intraspecific aggression while others are evolved responses to resource competition. The combination of interspecific territoriality and hybridization appears to be an unstable state associated with parapatry, while species that are interspecifically territorial and do not hybridize are able to achieve extensive fine‐ and coarse‐scale breeding range overlap. In sum, these results suggest that interspecific territoriality has multiple origins and impacts coexistence at multiple spatial scales.