Lack of trophic polymorphism despite substantial genetic differentiation in sympatric brown trout (Salmo trutta ) populations

Anastasia Andersson, Frank Johansson, Marcus Sundbom, Nils Ryman, Linda Laikre
2016 Ecology of Freshwater Fish  
Sympatric populations occur in many freshwater fish species; such populations are typically detected through morphological distinctions that are often coupled to food niche and genetic separations. In salmonids, trophic and genetically separate sympatric populations have been reported in landlocked Arctic char, whitefish and brown trout. In Arctic char and brown trout rare cases of sympatric, genetically distinct populations have been detected based on genetic data alone, with no apparent
more » ... h no apparent morphological differences, that is "cryptic" structuring. It remains unknown whether such cryptic, sympatric structuring can be coupled to food niche separation. Here, we perform an extensive screening for trophic divergence of two genetically divergent, seemingly cryptic, sympatric brown trout populations documented to remain in stable sympatry over several decades in two interconnected, tiny mountain lakes in a nature reserve in central Sweden. We investigate body shape, body length, gill raker metrics, breeding status and diet (stomach content analysis and stable isotopes) in these populations. We find small significant differences for body shape, body size and breeding status, and no evidence of food niche separation between these two populations. In contrast, fish in the two lakes differed in body shape, diet, and nitrogen and carbon isotope signatures despite no genetic difference between lakes. These genetically divergent populations apparently coexist using the same food resources and showing the same adaptive plasticity to the local food niches of the two separate lakes. Such observations have not been reported previously but may be more common than recognised as genetic screenings are necessary to detect the structures. K E Y W O R D S body shape, geometric morphometrics, gill rakers, population genetic structure, stable isotopes, stomach content 1
doi:10.1111/eff.12308 fatcat:6gso2ragkjh3leaxkddy33wdna