Plasticity and heritability of morphological variation within and between parapatric stickleback demes

R. J. Scott McCairns, Louis Bernatchez

    Tutkimustuotos: ArtikkelijulkaisuArtikkeliTieteellinenvertaisarvioitu


    The threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) has emerged as an important model organism in evolutionary ecology, largely due to the repeated, parallel evolution of divergent morphotypes found in populations having colonized freshwater habitats. However, morphological divergence following colonization is not a universal phenomenon. We explore this in a large-scale estuarine ecosystem inhabited by two parapatric stickleback demes, each physiologically adapted to divergent osmoregulatory environments (fresh vs. saline waters). Using geometric morphometric analyses of wild-caught individuals, we detected significant differences between demes, in addition to sexual dimorphism, in body shape. However, rearing full-sib families from each deme under controlled, reciprocal salinity conditions revealed no differences between genotypes and highly significant environmental effects. It is also noteworthy that fish from both demes were fully plated, whether found in the wild or reared under reciprocal salinity conditions. Although we found significant heritability for body shape, we also noted significant direct environmental effects for many latent shape variables. Moreover, we found little evidence for diversifying selection acting on body size and shape (QST). Nevertheless, uniform compressive variation did exceed neutral expectations, yet despite evidence of both allometry and genetic correlation with body length, we detected no correlated signatures of selection. Taken together, these results suggest that much of the morphological divergence observed in this system is the result of plastic responses to environmental variation rather than adaptive differentiation.

    LehtiJournal of Evolutionary Biology
    DOI - pysyväislinkit
    TilaJulkaistu - kesäkuuta 2012
    OKM-julkaisutyyppiA1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä, vertaisarvioitu


    • 1181 Ekologia, evoluutiobiologia

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