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Ecological causes of morphological evolution in the three-spined stickleback

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journal contribution
posted on 10.03.2015, 11:37 by R. Spence, R. J. Wootton, Iain Barber, M. Przybylski, C. Smith
The central assumption of evolutionary theory is that natural selection drives the adaptation of populations to local environmental conditions, resulting in the evolution of adaptive phenotypes. The three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) displays remarkable phenotypic variation, offering an unusually tractable model for understanding the ecological mechanisms underpinning adaptive evolutionary change. Using populations on North Uist, Scotland we investigated the role of predation pressure and calcium limitation on the adaptive evolution of stickleback morphology and behavior. Dissolved calcium was a significant predictor of plate and spine morph, while predator abundance was not. Stickleback latency to emerge from a refuge varied with morph, with populations with highly reduced plates and spines and high predation risk less bold. Our findings support strong directional selection in three-spined stickleback evolution, driven by multiple selective agents.

History

Citation

Ecology and Evolution, 2013, 3 (6), pp. 1717-1726 (10)

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF MEDICINE, BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES AND PSYCHOLOGY/School of Biological Sciences/Department of Biology

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Published in

Ecology and Evolution

Publisher

Wiley Open Access, European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB), Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE)

issn

2045-7758

eissn

2045-7758

Copyright date

2013

Available date

10/03/2015

Publisher version

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ece3.581/abstract

Language

en