Morphometric and genetic analyses of two sympatric morphs of Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus) in the Canadian High Arctic

Arbour, J. H.; Hardie, D. C.; Hutchings, J. A.
January 2011
Canadian Journal of Zoology;Jan2011, Vol. 89 Issue 1, p19
Academic Journal
Multivariate morphometric analyses were used to examine variation in head, body, and fin shape between two sympatric morphotypes of Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus (L., 1758)) from Lake Hazen, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada. Population structure of the Lake Hazen Arctic char was examined using five microsatellite loci. The 'small' morph was found to have a larger (primarily deeper) head, larger and more elongate fins, and a deeper lateral profile than the 'large' morph. The morphs also differed in allometric growth patterns. The large and small morphs do not appear to represent genetically distinct populations. The head morphology of the Lake Hazen small and large morphs exhibited similarities to benthic and pelagic morphs (respectively) from other lakes. We hypothesize that the large morph may be adapted to high-efficiency swimming and that the small morph may be adapted to low-efficiency, high-acceleration swimming. Such functional trade-offs are not uncommon among fish specializing in dispersed or mobile prey (fish and plankton) and benthic prey, respectively. The lack of apparent genetic differentiation between the morphs may suggest that the morphological differences result, to some extent, from phenotypic plasticity. Based on these results and previous analyses, it seems reasonable to conclude that Lake Hazen Arctic char represent a resource polymorphism. Des analyses morphom�triques multidimensionnelles nous ont servi � �tudier la variation de la forme de la t�te, du corps et des nageoires chez deux morphotypes sympatriques de l'omble chevalier (Salvelinus alpinus (L., 1758)) du lac Hazen, �le d'Ellesmere, Nunavut, Canada. Nous avons d�termin� la structure de population des ombles chevaliers du lac Hazen par l'examen de cinq locus microsatellites. Le morphotype � petit � poss�de une t�te plus grosse (surtout plus haute), des nageoires plus grandes et plus allong�es et un profil lat�ral plus �lev� que le morphotype � grand �. Les morphotypes diff�rent aussi par leurs patrons de croissance allom�trique. Les morphotypes petit et grand ne semblent pas repr�senter des populations g�n�tiquement distinctes. La morphologie de la t�te des morphotypes petit et grand du lac Hazen rappelle les morphotypes (respectivement) benthique et p�lagique d�crits dans d'autres lacs. Nous �mettons l'hypoth�se selon laquelle le grand morphotype peut �tre adapt� � la nage de grande efficacit� et le petit morphotype l'est � la nage de faible efficacit�, mais d'acc�l�ration rapide. De tels compromis fonctionnels ne sont pas rares chez les poissons qui se sp�cialisent respectivement pour les proies dispers�es ou mobiles (poissons et plancton) et pour les proies benthiques. L'absence apparente de diff�renciation g�n�tique entre les morphotypes peut laisser croire que les diff�rences morphologiques proviennent, dans une certaine mesure, de la plasticit� ph�notypique. D'apr�s nos r�sultats et des analyses ant�rieures, il semble raisonnable de conclure que les ombles chevaliers du lac Hazen pr�sentent un polymorphisme bas� sur les ressources.


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