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10 000 years later: evolution of body shape in Haida Gwaii three-spined stickleback

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The body shape of 1303 adult male three-spined stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus from 118 populations on Haida Gwaii archipelago off the mid-coast of British Columbia was investigated using discriminant function analysis on partial warp scores generated from 12 homologous landmarks on a digital image of each fish. Results demonstrated geographical differences in adult body shape that could be predicted by both abiotic and biotic factors of the habitat. Populations with derived shape (CV1−), including thick peduncles, posterior and closely spaced dorsal spines, anterior pelvis, small dorsal and anal fins, were found in small, shallow, stained ponds, and populations with less derived shape (CV1+), with small narrow peduncles, anterior and widely spaced dorsal spines, posterior pelvis, large dorsal and anal fins were found in large, deep, clear lakes. This relationship was replicated between geographic regions; divergent mtDNA haplotypes in lowland populations; between predation regimes throughout the archipelago, and in each geographical region and between predation regimes in lowland populations monomorphic for the Euro and North American mtDNA haplotype. There were large-bodied populations with derived shape (CV2−), including small heads and shallow elongate bodies in open water habitats of low productivity, and populations with smaller size and less derived shape (CV2+), with large heads and deeper bodies in higher productivity, structurally complex habitats. This relationship was replicated between geographic regions, and partially between divergent mtDNA haplotypes in lowland populations. Field tests for phenotypic plasticity of body shape suggest that <10% of the total variation in body shape among populations throughout the archipelago can be attributed to plasticity.

Keywords: Gasterosteus; Queen Charlotte Islands; adaptation; geometric morphometrics; hydrodynamic landscape; phenotypic plasticity

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: Department of Biology, University of Victoria, Victoria BC V8X 4A5, Canada

Publication date: May 1, 2007


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