Changing times, spaces, and faces: tests and implications of adaptive morphological plasticity in the fishes of northern postglacial lakes

Robinson, B.W. and Parsons, K.J. (2002) Changing times, spaces, and faces: tests and implications of adaptive morphological plasticity in the fishes of northern postglacial lakes. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 59(11), pp. 1819-1833. (doi:10.1139/F02-144)

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Abstract

The phenotypic diversity exhibited within and among populations of freshwater fishes in postglacial lakes has intrigued biologists for two reasons: (i) their high phenotypic variation and (ii) the apparently recent and rapid divergence of forms. Genetic and ecological studies of these taxa are shedding new light on mechanisms of divergence and species formation. Surprisingly, the roles of phenotypic plasticity in the origins, maintenance, and generation of phenotypic diversity in this system are rarely directly addressed. We synthesize the available literature on morphological plasticity in these fishes and, using a meta-analysis, test for adaptive plasticity. We conclude that (i) morphological plasticity is common in at least six families of northern freshwater fishes, (ii) plastic responses can often be induced by conditions related to littoral and pelagic lake environments, (iii) plasticity often represents adaptive responses to conditions in these habitats, and (iv) that although rarely tested, heritable variation in morphological plasticity is present. The rich amount of phenotypic plasticity has not constrained recent adaptive divergence and species formation in postglacial fishes, and instead plasticity may play a role in the notably high rates of divergence observed in these and other fishes currently undergoing adaptive radiation.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Parsons, Dr Kevin
Authors: Robinson, B.W., and Parsons, K.J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
ISSN:0706-652X
ISSN (Online):1205-7533

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