Patterns of morphological variation among native and non-native pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus) populations: shared and unique aspects of diversification

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Contemporary patterns of morphological variation among populations reflects the interplay between historic and contemporary processes that result from selection and constraint. Using the pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus), a species native to North America and introduced to Europe, we assessed the shared and unique aspects of morphological divergence in lentic and lotic environments among native and non-native populations. Ten native and thirteen non-native pumpkinseed populations were collected between 2003 and 2010 from lakes, rivers and reservoirs within the Iberian Peninsula and east-central North America. Fifteen linear external measurements among homologous landmarks that pertain to bo dy size, fin position and fin size were taken from all sampled individuals. Eleven of these measurements were used to test for morphological differences among populations. Pumpkinseed found in lotic water bodies exhibited a more anterior placement of pectoral and pelvic fins and a deeper caudal peduncle and body than those found in lentic water bodies from the same geographic region. However, pumpkinseed also showed morphological differences between geographic origins: pumpkinseed from native populations exhibit a more posterior placement of pectoral and pelvic fins, a narrower anterior caudal peduncle and a more slender body than pumpkinseed from non-native populations. In addition, unique responses of populations to waterbodies within geographic origins revealed a shift between water body types that was opposite in direction for native and non-native populations. Native populations exhibited shorter and deeper caudal peduncles and deeper bodies in lotic habitats, whereas non-native populations showed longer and slender caudal peduncles and more slender bodies in the same type of habitat. Our study demonstrates that contemporary patterns of morphological variation among native and non-native pumpkinseed populations can be explained by contemporary selection and/or a common plastic developmental response among water bodies, historical effects related to geographic origin and unique responses of populations to habitats within geographic origin, and that the effects of history and the interaction between history and contemporary habitat were larger than contemporary processes in explaining morphological variation at this large spatial scale ​
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