|Morphological adaptation to thermal stress in a marine fish, Fundulus heteroclitus|
Mitton, J.B.; Koehn, R.K. (1976). Morphological adaptation to thermal stress in a marine fish, Fundulus heteroclitus. Biol. Bull. 151(3): 548-549
In: Biological Bulletin. Marine Biological Laboratory: Lancaster, Pa. etc.. ISSN 0006-3185, more
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Populations of Fundulus heteroclitus (Cyprinodontidae), a coastal marine fish, were studied in control and artificially heated environments on the north shore of Long Island to determine patterns of variation in morphology and the extent to which this variation reflected adaptation to environmental characteristics. Principal components and discriminant function analyses were used to analyze variation in and among seventeen morphological characters. Fishes living in water artificially heated by a power plant exhibited marked divergence from control populations in head morphology, and convergence with a population sampled at more southern latitudes. Hence, these differences were interpreted as adaptations to warm environments. Greater morphological variation is detected at the heated locality than at control localities, and this may be partially due to a breakdown in developmental homeostasis, and partially due to selection favoring phenotypes that are rare in this environment.