Morphological variation over ontogeny and environments in resource polymorphic arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus)

Parsons, K.J. , Skúlason, S. and Ferguson, M. (2010) Morphological variation over ontogeny and environments in resource polymorphic arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus). Evolution and Development, 12(3), pp. 246-257. (doi:10.1111/j.1525-142X.2010.00410.x)

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Abstract

Natural selection requires genetically based phenotypic variation to facilitate its action and cause adaptive evolution. It has become increasingly recognized that morphological development can become canalized likely as a result of selection. However, it is largely unknown how selection may influence canalization over ontogeny and differing environments. Changes in environments or colonization of a novel one is expected to result in adaptive divergence from the ancestral population when selection favors a new phenotypic optimum. In turn, a novel environment may also expose variation previously hidden from natural selection. We tested for changes in phenotypic variation over ontogeny and environments among ecomorphs of Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus) from two Icelandic lakes. Populations represented varying degrees of ecological specialization, with one lake population possessing highly specialized ecomorphs exhibiting a large degree of phenotypic divergence, whereas the other displayed more subtle divergence with more ecological overlap. Here we show that ecomorphs hypothesized to be the most specialized in each lake possess significant reductions in shape variation over ontogeny regardless of environmental treatment suggesting canalized development. However, environments did change the amount of shape variation expressed in these ecomorphs, with novel environments slowing the rate at which variation was reduced over ontogeny. Thus, environmental conditions may play an important role in determining the type and amount of genetically based phenotypic variation exposed to natural selection.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Parsons, Dr Kevin
Authors: Parsons, K.J., Skúlason, S., and Ferguson, M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Evolution and Development
ISSN:1520-541X
ISSN (Online):1525-142X
Published Online:11 May 2010

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