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Stickleback sensory morphology 2015 & 2017 measurements and analysis files

Cite this dataset

Mobley, Robert (2021). Stickleback sensory morphology 2015 & 2017 measurements and analysis files [Dataset]. Dryad.


The peripheral sensory systems, whose morphological attributes help determine the acquisition of distinct types of information, provide a means to quantitatively compare multiple modalities of a species’ sensory ecology. We used morphological metrics to characterize multiple sensory modalities—the visual, olfactory, and mechanosensory lateral line sensory systems—for Gasterosteus aculeatus, the three‐spined stickleback, to compare how sensory systems vary in animals that evolve in different ecological conditions. We hypothesized that the dimensions of sensory organs and correlations among sensory systems vary in populations adapted to marine and freshwater environments, and have diverged further among freshwater lake-dwelling populations. Our results showed that among environments, fish differed in which senses are relatively elaborated or reduced. When controlling for body length, littoral fish had larger eyes, more neuromasts, and smaller olfactory tissue area than pelagic or marine populations. We also found differences in the direction and magnitude of correlations among sensory systems for populations even within the same habitat type. Our data suggest that populations take different trajectories in how visual, olfactory, and lateral line systems respond to their environment. For the populations we studied, sensory modalities do not conform in a predictable way to the ecological categories we assigned.

Usage notes

Missing values (due to unobtained collection of values for animals identified in the data frame) are entered in the data sheet as NULL. 

Rows with all values missing are retained included in the dataframe to work with associated scripts (e.g. dataframespecifications.R)


Division of Environmental Biology, Award: DEB-1638778