Heritability of Morphological Traits Across Divergent Environments in Guppies (Poecilia reticulata)
In an ever-changing environment, it is vital for beneficial traits to be passed on to each generation to ensure survival of the species. But how well these traits can be passed from parents to offspring depends on their heritability. Trinidadian guppies (Poecilia reticulata) have repeatedly adapted to changes in predation regime and resource availability such that changes in body shape are advantageous in the respective habitat. Therefore, these traits should be heritable across generations and differences in heritability of these traits may provide an adaptive advantage. However, heritability may be governed more at the species rather than population level, resulting in little difference in heritability across populations. But whether certain traits are more heritable than others, and how this may differ between populations, is poorly understood. We will test whether, in high predation environments where an escape response is important for survival, tail and peduncle size may be more heritable compared to low predation environments where feeding and other behaviors necessitate maneuverability, shape of the pectoral and other fins may be more heritable. To test this hypothesis we will photograph wild-caught females and their first-generation lab-reared daughters using a custom v-shaped acrylic tank that allows live, alert fish to maintain a natural fin and body posture. Morphological characters, such as standard length, caudal peduncle length and height, tail area, dorsal and pectoral fin length will be quantified from these photographs using Image J and compared between generations and populations. Strong similarity between generations, but differences across populations will suggest that traits are heritable but that this heritability changes across populations.
Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology Annual Meeting (SICB)
San Francisco, CA
Young, E. B., Emily A. Kane.
"Heritability of Morphological Traits Across Divergent Environments in Guppies (Poecilia reticulata)."
Biology Faculty Presentations.