Evol Ecol Res 7: 1109-1123 (2005)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Habitat structure, feeding mode and morphological reversibility: factors influencing phenotypic plasticity in perch

J. Olsson* and P. Eklöv

Limnology/Department of Ecology and Evolution, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 20, SE-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden

Author to whom all correspondence should be addressed.
e-mail: jens.olsson@ebc.uu.se


Questions: Do both habitat structure and feeding mode contribute to morphological divergence within fish populations? To what extent may an induced morphology be reversed?

Organism: Young-of-the-year Eurasian perch (Perca fluviatilis L.).

Methods: An aquarium experiment with a 2 × 2 factorial design (two levels of habitat structure and two levels of feeding mode). The habitat structure and feeding mode were reversed for perch in two habitat treatments midway through the experiment.

Results: Both habitat structure and feeding mode contributed to morphological divergence (40.7% and 4.9% of the total variation respectively), which suggests that both habitat complexity and prey type diversity influence morphological adaptations in this fish species. Perch morphology is highly plastic and can be reversed in as short a time as 4 weeks.

Keywords: feeding mode, geometric morphometrics, habitat structure, morphological reversibility, phenotypic plasticity, trophic polymorphism.

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