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Personality and temporal plasticity in fish populations along a gradient of evolutionary divergence


Benhaim, David; Leblanc, Camille; Vernier, Louise (2023), Personality and temporal plasticity in fish populations along a gradient of evolutionary divergence, Dryad, Dataset,


Personality is now recognized as an ecologically and evolutionarily significant phenomenon because it can affect fitness directly. However, empirical studies specifically tackling the importance of personality in the processes of adaptive divergence and speciation are scarce. Whether selection favours plasticity or canalization of personality traits in specific contexts and how ecological conditions affect the presence and the structure of personalities remain to be elucidated. We used five populations of Arctic charr, Salvelinus alpinus, chosen along a gradient of genetic and phenotypic divergence: an anadromous population supposedly close to the ancestral population and two pairs of sympatric lake morphs. Fish were raised individually from eggs in a common-garden experiment to specifically assess the genetic bases of the boldness trait in these populations. Thirty-two individuals per morph were repeatedly tested at 11 months old in an open field test with a shelter to assess boldness. The repeatability of the boldness trait (i.e. personality), within- and among-individual variation and temporal variation were assessed within each population. Then, the temporal plasticity in boldness and boldness mean score were assessed among populations. The results show differences between populations for the three variables, with the highest repeatability in the most diverged population, an increase in boldness over time and a lower mean value (especially the first time they were exposed to the novel environment) in the anadromous population. This suggests that boldness and temporal plasticity differ between the anadromous population and the more diverged lake populations under a controlled embryonic/juvenile environment. Further research is needed to verify the contribution of temporal plasticity for personality traits in the context of rapid adaptive radiation such as that seen in Arctic charr.