Elevated temperatures drive the evolution of armour loss in the threespine stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus

Smith, C. ORCID: 0000-0003-3285-0379, Zięba, G. and Przybylski, M., 2021. Elevated temperatures drive the evolution of armour loss in the threespine stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus. Functional Ecology. ISSN 0269-8463

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1. While there is evidence of genetic and phenotypic responses to climate change, few studies have demonstrated change in functional traits with a known genetic basis.

2. Here we present evidence for an evolutionary adaptive response to elevated temperatures in freshwater populations of the threespine stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus.

3. Using a unique set of historical data and museum specimens, in combination with contemporary samples, we fitted a Bayesian spatial model to identify a population-level decline in the number of lateral bony plates, comprising anti-predator armour, in multiple populations of sticklebacks over the last 91 years in Poland.

4. Armor loss was predicted by elevated temperatures and is proposed to be a correlated response to selection for reduced body size.

5. This study demonstrates a change in a functional trait of known genetic basis in response to elevated temperature, and illustrates the utility of the threespine stickleback as a model for measuring the evolutionary and ecological impacts of environmental change across the northern hemisphere.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Functional Ecology
Creators: Smith, C., Zięba, G. and Przybylski, M.
Publisher: Wiley
Date: 20 May 2021
ISSN: 0269-8463
Rights: © 2021 The Authors. Functional Ecology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Ecological Society. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non- commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Record created by: Laura Ward
Date Added: 13 Jul 2021 10:32
Last Modified: 13 Jul 2021 10:32
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/43438

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