Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2381/32782
Title: Habitat-specific morphological variation among threespine sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) within a drainage basin
Authors: Webster, Mike M.
Atton, Nicola
Hart, Paul J. B.
Ward, Ashley J. W.
First Published: 15-Jun-2011
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Citation: PLoS One, 2011, 6 (6), e21060
Abstract: Habitat-specific morphological variation, often corresponding to resource specialization, is well documented in freshwater fishes. In this study we used landmark based morphometric analyses to investigate morphological variation among threespine sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus L.) from four interconnected habitat types within a single lowland drainage basin in eastern England. These included the upper and lower reaches of the river, the estuary, a connected ditch network and a coastal salt marsh. We found significant habitat-specific differences in morphology, with three axes of variation describing differences in orbit diameter, body depth, caudal peduncle shape and pectoral fin positioning as well as variation in relative dorsal and pelvic spine size. Interestingly, the ditch system, an artificial and heavily managed habitat, is populated by sticklebacks with a characteristic morphology, suggesting that human management of habitats can in some circumstances lead to morphological variation among the animals that inhabit them. We discuss the mechanisms that conceivably underlie the observed morphological variation and the further work necessary to identify them. Finally, we consider the implications of habitat-specific body shape variation for the behavioural ecology of this ecologically generalist species.
DOI Link: 10.1371/journal.pone.0021060
eISSN: 1932-6203
Links: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0021060
http://hdl.handle.net/2381/32782
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2011 Webster et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Biology

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