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Gut length plasticity in perch: Into the bowels of resource polymorphisms
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Limnology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Limnology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Limnology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Limnology.
2007 (English)In: Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, ISSN 0024-4066, E-ISSN 1095-8312, Vol. 90, no 3, 517-523 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Resource polymorphisms, intraspecific variation in morphology due to differential resource use, are common across a wide range of animal taxa. The focus in studies of such polymorphisms has been on external morphology, but the differential use of food resources could also influence other phenotypic traits such as the digestive performance. In the present study, we experimentally demonstrate that Eurasian perch (Perca fluviatilis L.) display adaptive plasticity in gut length when exposed to different food types. Perch fed a less digestible food type developed relatively longer guts compared to fish fed a more easily digested food type. This divergence in gut length was also apparent under natural conditions because perch inhabiting the littoral and pelagic habitats of a lake differed in resource use and relative gut length. Despite that the digestive system in perch is plastic, we found that individuals switching to a novel food type might experience an initial fitness cost of the diet switch in the form of a temporary reduction in body condition. These results show the importance of gut length plasticity for an ontogenetic omnivore but also a cost that might prevent diet switching in polymorphic populations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 90, no 3, 517-523 p.
Keyword [en]
Adaptive individual variation, Body condition, Diet switch, Fitness cost, Food digestibility, Food type, Gastrointestinal tract length, Phenotypic plasticity, Stable isotope analysis
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-95050DOI: 10.1111/j.1095-8312.2007.00742.xISI: 000245107100011OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-95050DiVA: diva2:169111
Available from: 2006-11-07 Created: 2006-11-07 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Interplay Between Environment and Genes on Morphological Variation in Perch – Implications for Resource Polymorphisms
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Interplay Between Environment and Genes on Morphological Variation in Perch – Implications for Resource Polymorphisms
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Recent research has suggested that individual specialization within populations could be substantial and more common than previously acknowledged. Eurasian perch is one of many species of fish in lakes of postglacial origin that displays a morphological and dietary variation tightly coupled to the littoral and pelagic habitats of the lake. The occurrence of such resource polymorphisms might have important consequences for local adaptation and might also be an important initial step in speciation.

I have investigated the importance of a number of factors for the development of resource polymorphisms using perch as a study organism. I found a weak genetic basis for morphological differences, and the environmental influence on morphology was of such a magnitude that an induced morphology could be reversed. The results nevertheless suggested that genetic differentiation could be substantial at small spatial and temporal scales, even within habitats. Several environmental factors were shown to influence the morphological development, and the results also suggest that behavioral differences could mediate a morphological response. I also found evidence for that competition-driven divergence might only occur when divergence in resource use is favoured at the same time as growth rates are kept sufficiently high for character divergence to be effective. The results finally indicate that divergence in the gut length of individuals might co-vary with habitat and diet use in resource polymorphic populations. This might enhance habitat fidelity and possibly also facilitate the persistence of resource polymorphisms since individuals should experience a cost of switching diets due to a too specific digestive system.

Based on these findings I conclude that small scaled genetic differentiation might be more common than currently acknowledged, that more multi-factorial studies are needed if we are to fully understand the mechanisms behind trait diversity, and that competition not always favors divergence.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2006. 55 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 235
Keyword
Ecology, Perch, Resource polymorphism, Genetic differentiation, Phenotypic plasticity, Morphology, Competition, Character divergence, Behavior, Growth rate, Resource level, Gut lenght, Ekologi
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-7212 (URN)91-554-6696-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2006-11-28, Lindahlssalen, Kärnhuset, EBC, Norbyvägen 18, 752 36, Uppsala, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
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Available from: 2006-11-07 Created: 2006-11-07 Last updated: 2011-04-20Bibliographically approved

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