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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An analysis of morphological variation within and between stream populations of Gasterosteus aculeatus Linnaeus Shaw, Kate


Two small streams on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, were examined for patterns of morphological variation in Gasterosteus aculeatus. A progressive analysis beginning with Principle Components Analysis, followed by Nested and Partially Nested Multiple Analysis of Variance and then Duncan's Multiple Range Test was used for pattern determination. This new technique allows the researcher to sequentially isolate the pattern of variation at different levels of generality from species to individual organisms. The pattern of variation for G. aculeatus in Bonsall Creek and Nunns Creek can be summarized as follows: The largest amount of variation accounted for by the analysis is interpreted as individual variation. Populations also account for a large amount of variation and show consistent, fully nested patterns of variation at each of the analysed geographic and microgeographic levels. These populations are probably genealogical units. The so-called "leiurus" and "trachurus" forms on the Pacific coast of North America do not appear to be evolutionary entities, but to be historical artifacts that are best viewed as labels for the extremes of a continuum of variation. In areas where distinct populations meet, different clines are documented in the two stream systems. In Nunns Creek there is a smooth cline between populations, whereas in Bonsall Creek there is a step cline.

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