UBC Research Data

Temporal instability of lake charr phenotypes: Synchronicity of growth rates and morphology linked to environmental variables? Chavarie, Louise



Pathways through which phenotypic variation among individuals arise can be complex. One assumption often made in relation to intraspecific diversity is that the stability or predictability of the environment will interact with expression of the underlying phenotypic variation. To address biological complexity below the species level, we investigated variability across years in morphology and annual growth increments between and within two sympatric lake charr Salvelinus namaycush ecotypes in Rush Lake, USA. A rapid phenotypic shift in body and head shape was found within a decade. The magnitude and direction of the observed phenotypic change was consistent in both ecotypes, which suggests similar pathways caused the variation over time. Over the same time period, annual growth increments declined for both lake charr ecotypes and corresponded with a consistent phenotypic shift of each ecotype. Despite ecotype-specific annual growth changes in response to winter conditions, the observed annual growth shift for both ecotypes was linked, to some degree, with variation in the environment. Particularly, a declining trend in regional cloud cover was associated with an increase of early stage (ages 1-3) annual growth for lake charr of Rush Lake. Underlying mechanisms causing changes in growth rates and constrained morphological modulation are not fully understood. An improved knowledge of the biology hidden within the expression of phenotypic variation promises to clarify our understanding of temporal morphological diversity and instability.

; Methods

PCA and CVA with centroid for each ecotype in Rush Lake

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