Yohey TERAI Assistant Professor

Lab web site: http://adaptive-speciation.com/

The mechanism of adaptation and speciation

At present, three to five million species live on Earth. These numerous species are ecologically and morphologically very different, forming the basis of the planet’s biodiversity. How was this biodiversity generated during the evolutionary history of life? One of the important answers is the process by which one species splits into two. This process is called speciation. Biodiversity has been generated through numerous adaptation and speciation events throughout evolutionary history. However, the mechanisms of adaptation and speciation are unclear. I have investigated these mechanisms using several organisms. The typical cases are adaptation and speciation in cichlid fish. The light conditions under water depend on the water depth and turbidity, and the cichlid species adapt their visual systems to suit the various light environments. Mature male cichlids display their colors to attract mates. The color of their skin reflects light, and the reflected light forms a color signal that is received by the visual systems of females. The adaptive divergence of visual perceptions shapes and diverges colorations, to match the adapted visual perceptions. The divergence of visual perception and coloration causes the divergence of color signals, and this process leads to speciation. This is a case of which ecological adaptation causes species divergence. My research takes the next step forward by trying to reveal 1) the mechanism of adaptation, and 2) the mechanisms of speciation caused by ecological adaptation by using vertebrates and invertebrates.


Papers and publications

  1. Malinsky M, Challis RJ, Tyers AM, Schiffels S, Terai Y, Ngatunga BP, Miska EA, Durbin R, Genner MJ, Turner GF. Genomic islands of speciation separate cichlid ecomorphs in an East African crater lake. Science, in press (2015)
  2. Takahashi-Kariyazono, Y Satta, Y Terai Genetic diversity of fluorescent protein genes generated by gene duplication and alternative splicing in reef-building corals Zoological Letters, 1:23 (2015)
  3. Kuroiwa A, Terai Y, Kobayashi N, Yoshida K, Suzuki M, Nakanishi A, Matsuda Y, Watanabeb M, Okada N. Construction of chromosome markers from the Lake Victoria cichlid Paralabidochromis chilotes and their application to comparative mapping. Cytogenet. Genome Res. 142: 112-120 (2014)
  4. Miyagi R, Terai Y. The diversity of male nuptial coloration leads to species diversity in Lake Victoria cichlids. Genes & Genetic Systems 88: 145-154 (2013)
  5. Miyagi R, Terai Y, Aibara M, Mizoiri S, Sugawara T, Imai H, Tachida H, Okitsu T, Wada A and Okada N. Correlation between Nuptial Colors and Visual Sensitivities Tuned by Opsins Leads to Species Richness in Sympatric Lake Victoria Cichlid Fishes. (2012) Mol Biol Evol. 11: 3281-3296.
  6. Terai, Y., Okada, N. Speciation by sensory drive in cichlid fishes in “From genes to animal behavior: social structures, personalities, communication by color” (2011) (Miho Inoue-Murayama, Shoji Kawamura, Alexander Weiss eds.)
  7. Seehausen, O, Terai, Y., Magalhaes, I. S., Carleton, K. L., Mrosso, H. D. J., Miyagi, R., van der Sluijs, I., Schneider, M. V., Maan, M. E., Tachida, H., Imai, H. Okada, N. Speciation through sensory drive in cichlid fish. (2008) Nature, 455, 620-626.