Analyzing nested variation in the body form of Lepomid sunfishes

Riopel, C., Robinson, B.W. and Parsons, K.J. (2008) Analyzing nested variation in the body form of Lepomid sunfishes. Environmental Biology of Fishes, 82(4), pp. 409-420. (doi: 10.1007/s10641-007-9303-9)

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Phylogenetic hierarchies are often composed of younger diverging lineages nested within older diverging lineages. Comparing phenotypic variation among several hierarchical levels can be used to test hypotheses about selection, phenotypic evolution and speciation. Such hierarchical comparisons have only been performed in threespine stickleback, and so here we use a hierarchical pattern of divergences between near-shore littoral and off-shore pelagic habitats to test for selection on the evolution of body form in Lepomis sunfish in lakes. We compare variation in external body form between fish from littoral and pelagic habitats at three levels: among ecomorphs within individual lake populations (intrapopulation), among populations of the same species in different lakes (interpopulation), and between bluegill and pumpkinseed sunfish species (interspecifically). Using geometric morphometric methods, we first demonstrate that interpopulation variation in mean body form of pumpkinseed sunfish varies with the presence of pelagic habitat. We then incorporate these results with existing data in order to test the similarity of phenotypic divergence between littoral and pelagic habitats at different hierarchical levels. Parallel relationships between certain body form traits (head length, caudal length and pectoral length) and habitat occur at all three levels suggesting that selection persistently acts at all levels to diversify these traits and so may contribute to species formation. For other traits (caudal depth and pectoral altitude), divergence between habitats is inconsistent at different hierarchical levels. Thus, nested biological variation in Lepomid body form reflects a history of deterministic selection and historical contingency, and also identifies traits that likely have likely influenced fitness and so serve important functions.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Parsons, Dr Kevin
Authors: Riopel, C., Robinson, B.W., and Parsons, K.J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Environmental Biology of Fishes
ISSN (Online):1573-5133

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