Experimental Tests for Heritable Morphological Color Plasticity in Non-Native Brown Trout (Salmo trutta) Populations

Westley, Peter A. H. and Stanley, Ryan and Fleming, Ian A. (2013) Experimental Tests for Heritable Morphological Color Plasticity in Non-Native Brown Trout (Salmo trutta) Populations. PLoS ONE, 8 (11). ISSN 1932-6203

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Abstract

The success of invasive species is frequently attributed to phenotypic plasticity, which facilitates persistence in novel environments. Here we report on experimental tests to determine whether the intensity of cryptic coloration patterns in a global invader (brown trout, Salmo trutta) was primarily the result of plasticity or heritable variation. Juvenile F1 offspring were created through experimental crosses of wild-caught parents and reared for 30 days in the laboratory in a split-brood design on either light or dark-colored gravel substrate. Skin and fin coloration quantified with digital photography and image analysis indicated strong plastic effects in response to substrate color; individuals reared on dark substrate had both darker melanin-based skin color and carotenoid-based fin colors than other members of their population reared on light substrate. Slopes of skin and fin color reaction norms were parallel between environments, which is not consistent with heritable population-level plasticity to substrate color. Similarly, we observed weak differences in population-level color within an environment, again suggesting little genetic control on the intensity of skin and fin colors. Taken as whole, our results are consistent with the hypothesis that phenotypic plasticity may have facilitated the success of brown trout invasions and suggests that plasticity is the most likely explanation for the variation in color intensity observed among these populations in nature.

Item Type: Article
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/6311
Item ID: 6311
Additional Information: Memorial University Open Access Author's Fund
Department(s): Science, Faculty of > Biology
Science, Faculty of > Ocean Sciences
Date: 18 November 2013
Date Type: Publication
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