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Data from: Rapid morphological divergence of a stream fish in response to changes in water flow

Citation

Cureton II, James C.; Broughton, Richard E.; Cureton, J. C. (2014), Data from: Rapid morphological divergence of a stream fish in response to changes in water flow, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.s90j5

Abstract

Recent evidence indicates that evolution can occur on a contemporary time scale. However, the precise timing and patterns of phenotypic change are not well known. Reservoir construction severely alters selective regimes in aquatic habitats due to abrupt cessation of water flow. We examined the spatial and temporal patterns of evolution of a widespread North American stream fish (Pimephales vigilax) in response to stream impoundment. Gross morphological changes occurred in P. vigilax populations following dam construction in each of seven different rivers. Significant changes in body depth, head shape and fin placement were observed relative to fish populations that occupied the rivers prior to dam construction. These changes occurred over a very small number of generations and independent populations exhibited common responses to similar selective pressures. The magnitude of change was observed to be greatest in the first 15 generations post-impoundment, followed by continued but more gradual change thereafter. This pattern suggests early directional selection facilitated by phenotypic plasticity in the first 10–20 years, followed by potential stabilizing selection as populations reached a new adaptive peak (or variation became exhausted). This study provides evidence for rapid, apparently adaptive, phenotypic divergence of natural populations due to major environmental perturbations in a changing world.

Usage Notes

Location

Oklahoma