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Differentiation in morphology and habitat partitioning of genetically characterized

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Evolutionary processes do not affect all character types equally. Depending on environmental effects, morphological and ecological evolution may be uncoupled from molecular evolution. A natural contact zone between two forms of the amphipod Gammarus fossarum was used to assess the levels of differentiation in genetic, morphological and habitat characters. About 50 individuals per population were analysed for six enzyme loci in 72 populations and four size‐standardized morphometric traits in a subset of 32 populations. Nine environmental parameters per population were used to characterize the habitat. All three character sets revealed significant divergences between G. fossarum forms. The eastern form A of G. fossarum differs from the western form B by longer setae at the second antennae (males) and longer exopodits at die third uropods (males and females). The variance partitioning within populations, among populations and between forms, was compared within the three character sets. The relative variance component between forms in genetic characters appeared to be 10‐fold greater in comparison to morphological traits, indicating morphological stasis during speciation. The inter‐form environmental differentiation was shown to be low, but consistent between pure populations. The eastern form A seems to prefer higher altitudes, a substrate type of gravel, stones and leaves, shading, and water with higher conductivity and pH man the western form B.

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: Department of Population Biology, Zoological Institute, University of Mainz, Saarstrasse 21, D-55099 Mainz, Germany

Publication date: January 1, 2000


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