Rutgers University School of Arts and Sciences Division of Life Sciences

Speciation of Cichlid Fishes

Lake Malawi, like the other Great African Lakes,  is home to hundreds of described species in the family Cichlidae. In the case of Lake Malawi, nearly all of these species arose within the few million years that the lake has been in existence. There are active debates on the actual mode of speciation, and the kinds of divergent natural selection that may have caused the species.  In December of 2002 and again in May of 2008 the Hey lab traveled to Malawi to study the divergence among the Mbuna (members of the rock-dwelling species of Lake Malawi).

Selected Papers

Won YJ, Wang Y, Sivasundar A, Raincrow J, Hey J. 2006. Nuclear gene variation and molecular dating of the cichlid species flock of Lake Malawi. Mol Biol Evol 23:828-837.

Won, Y. J., A. Sivasundar, Y. Wang, and J. Hey. 2005. On the origin of Lake Malawi cichlid species: a population genetic analysis of divergence. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 102:6581-6586.

Hey, J., Y.-J. Won, A. Sivasundar, R. Nielsen and J. A. Markert. 2004 Using nuclear haplotypes with microsatellites to study gene flow between recently separated populations. Molecular Ecology 13: 909-919