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Striking Phenotypic Variation yet Low Genetic Differentiation in Sympatric Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush)


Striking Phenotypic Variation yet Low Genetic Differentiation in Sympatric Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush)

Marin, Kia, Coon, Andrew, Carson, Robert Spencer, Debes, Paul V. and Fraser, Dylan J. (2016) Striking Phenotypic Variation yet Low Genetic Differentiation in Sympatric Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush). PLOS ONE, 11 (9). e0162325. ISSN 1932-6203

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0162325


The study of population differentiation in the context of ecological speciation is commonly assessed using populations with obvious discreteness. Fewer studies have examined diversifying populations with occasional adaptive variation and minor reproductive isolation, so factors impeding or facilitating the progress of early stage differentiation are less understood. We detected non-random genetic structuring in lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) inhabiting a large, pristine, postglacial lake (Mistassini Lake, Canada), with up to five discernible genetic clusters having distinctions in body shape, size, colouration and head shape. However, genetic differentiation was low (FST = 0.017) and genetic clustering was largely incongruent between several population- and individual-based clustering approaches. Genotype- and phenotype-environment associations with spatial habitat, depth and fish community structure (competitors and prey) were either inconsistent or weak. Striking morphological variation was often more continuous within than among defined genetic clusters. Low genetic differentiation was a consequence of relatively high contemporary gene flow despite large effective population sizes, not migration-drift disequilibrium. Our results suggest a highly plastic propensity for occupying multiple habitat niches in lake trout and a low cost of morphological plasticity, which may constrain the speed and extent of adaptive divergence. We discuss how factors relating to niche conservatism in this species may also influence how plasticity affects adaptive divergence, even where ample ecological opportunity apparently exists.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Biology
Item Type:Article
Authors:Marin, Kia and Coon, Andrew and Carson, Robert Spencer and Debes, Paul V. and Fraser, Dylan J.
Journal or Publication:PLOS ONE
  • Concordia Open Access Author Fund
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):10.1371/journal.pone.0162325
ID Code:982273
Deposited On:21 Mar 2017 18:29
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:54
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