Publication date: April 2019
Source: Journal of Great Lakes Research, Volume 45, Issue 2
Author(s): John J.V. Lang, Randal J. Snyder, Mark D. Clapsadl, Pawel Michalak, Lin Kang, Alicia Pérez-FuentetajaAbstract
Differences in habitat (e.g., water velocity, prey, and predator regimes) are a driving force causing adaptive divergence among fish populations. This study used geometric shape analysis to assess morphological differences among emerald shiner (Notropis atherinoides) populations inhabiting the Niagara River, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario. It was expected that emerald shiners inhabiting the two lakes would have more robust bodies and smaller heads, while river emerald shiners were expected to display more fusiform bodies with larger heads. The results of this study indicate that emerald shiners from Lake Erie and the Niagara River had a more robust form on average than individuals from Lake Ontario. Specifically, emerald shiners collected from Lake Ontario displayed more streamlined bodies and larger heads than emerald shiners collected from Lake Erie and the Niagara River. In addition, this divergence in body shape has apparently occurred despite the lack of distinct genetic differentiation as measured with microsatellite variation. Our results suggest that differences in water velocity alone may not be responsible for phenotypic variation in body shape among these emerald shiner populations, and other factors such as differences in prey or predator regimes are likely involved.