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J Evol Biol. 2008 Nov;21(6):1653-65. doi: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2008.01583.x. Epub 2008 Aug 7.

Natural selection drives patterns of lake-stream divergence in stickleback foraging morphology.

Author information

  • 1Redpath Museum & Department of Biology, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada. daniel.berner@mail.mcgill.ca

Abstract

To what extent are patterns of biological diversification determined by natural selection? We addressed this question by exploring divergence in foraging morphology of threespine stickleback fish inhabiting lake and stream habitats within eight independent watersheds. We found that lake fish generally displayed more developed gill structures and had more streamlined bodies than did stream fish. Diet analysis revealed that these morphological differences were associated with limnetic vs. benthic foraging modes, and that the extent of morphological divergence within watersheds reflected differences in prey resources utilized by lake and stream fish. We also found that patterns of divergence were unrelated to patterns of phenotypic trait (co)variance within populations (i.e. the 'line of least resistance'). Instead, phenotypic (co)variances were more likely to have been shaped by adaptation to lake vs. stream habitats. Our study thus implicates natural selection as a strong deterministic force driving morphological diversification in lake-stream stickleback. The strength of this inference was obtained by complementing a standard analysis of parallel divergence in means between discrete habitat categories (lake vs. stream) with quantitative estimates of selective forces and information on trait (co)variances.

PMID:
18691241
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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