Pollinator-Mediated Selection on Flower Color Allele Drives Reinforcement

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Reinforcement is the process by which reduced hybrid fitness generates selection favoring the evolution of stronger prezygotic reproductive barriers between emerging species. Using common-garden field experiments, we quantified the strength of reinforcing selection in nature by demonstrating strong selection favoring an allele conferring increased pigment intensity in the plantPhlox drummondiiin areas of sympatry with the closely related speciesPhlox cuspidata.Incomplete hybrid sterility between the two species generates selection for traits that decrease interspecies hybridization. In contrast, selection on this locus is undetectable in the absence ofP. cuspidata.We demonstrate that reinforcing selection is generated by nonrandom pollinator movement, in which pollinators move less frequently between intensely pigmentedP. drummondiiandP. cuspidatathan between lightly pigmentedP. drummondiiandP. cuspidata.

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