Alexis Heckley

Student Speaker | Étudiant.e
Studies of parallel evolution have been essential for advancing our understanding of adaptation and natural selection. Few species have contributed as much to our understanding of parallelism as have Trinidadian guppies (Poecilia reticulata). The dichotomy between ‘high’ and ‘low’ predation environments in Trinidad has facilitated extensive research on how predation drives patterns of parallel evolution in guppy life history, behaviour, colour, and morphology. This leads us to the idea that we can reliably predict how guppies will adapt and evolve in response to predation. However, recent studies have suggested that parallel evolution is not as predictable as expected and that the parallelism can be weak and/or variable. If such findings are true for guppies, an iconic example of parallel evolution in nature, then our understanding of parallel evolution is not as robust as we have thought. Here, we conduct a comparative analysis looking at all papers that have looked at guppy traits in each of two high and low-predation environments. Preliminary results show that parallel evolution in the guppy system does indeed appear to be weak overall.