Incipient ecological speciation of Arctic charr

Arctic charr is phenotypically and life-history wise a highly plastic species that is ideal for studying incipient speciation. Within one lake several populations of Arctic charr can live in sympatry, utilizing different habitats and food resources. One of the main study lakes in this project consists of three separate populations of Arctic charr. Right now the three Arctic charr populations in this lake are regarded as different morphs as they are reproductively isolated and genetically different. One of the morphs is an omnivorous morph that spawns in the littoral zone while the other two morphs spawn in the profundal zone. One of the morphs spawning in the profundal zone is specializing on piscivory, while the other is preying on profundal benthos. The head and body shape differences between the morphs are studied using morphological analyses. Also head bone analyses between morphs in different lakes are performed. The results can reveal information about processes acting in the incipient stages of ecological speciation.

 

Contact person: Marianne Simonsen