Morphological change and phenotypic plasticity in native and non-native pumpkinseed sunfish in response to sustained water velocities.

Research paper by S S Yavno, M G MG Fox

Indexed on: 28 Sep '13Published on: 28 Sep '13Published in: Journal of Evolutionary Biology


Phenotypic plasticity can contribute to the proliferation and invasion success of nonindigenous species by promoting phenotypic changes that increase fitness, facilitate range expansion and improve survival. In this study, differences in phenotypic plasticity were investigated using young-of-year pumpkinseed sunfish from colonies established with lentic and lotic populations originating in Canada (native) and Spain (non-native). Individuals were subjected to static and flowing water treatments for 80 days. Inter- and intra-population differences were tested using ancova and discriminant function analysis, and differences in phenotypic plasticity were tested through a manova of discriminant function scores. Differences between Iberian and North American populations were observed in dorsal fin length, pectoral fin position and caudal peduncle length. Phenotypic plasticity had less influence on morphology than genetic factors, regardless of population origin. Contrary to predictions, Iberian pumpkinseed exhibited lower levels of phenotypic plasticity than native populations, suggesting that canalization may have occurred in the non-native populations during the processes of introduction and range expansion.