Distinctive insular forms of threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) from western Mediterranean islands

Lucek, Kay Jurka Olaf; Seehausen, Ole (2015). Distinctive insular forms of threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) from western Mediterranean islands. Conservation genetics, 16(6), pp. 1319-1333. Springer 10.1007/s10592-015-0742-0

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Neutral and adaptive variation among populations within a species is a major component of biological diversity and may be pronounced among insular populations due to geographical isolation and island specific evolutionary forces at work. Detecting and preserving potential evolutionary significant units below the species rank has become a crucial task for conservation biology. Combining genetic, phenotypic and ecological data, we investigated evolutionary patterns among the enigmatic threespine stickleback populations from western Mediterranean islands, all of which are threatened by habitat deterioration and climate change. We find indications that these populations derive from different genetic lineages, being genetically highly distinct from the stickleback of mainland Europe and the northern Atlantic as well as from each other. Mediterranean island stickleback populations are also phenotypically distinct from mainland populations but interestingly stickleback from Iceland have converged on a similar phenotype. This distinctive island stickleback phenotype seems to be driven by distinct selective regimes on islands versus continents. Overall, our results reveal the status of western Mediterranean island stickleback as evolutionarily distinct units, important for conservation of biodiversity.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE) > Aquatic Ecology

UniBE Contributor:

Lucek, Kay Jurka Olaf and Seehausen, Ole


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology








Marcel Häsler

Date Deposited:

22 Jul 2015 11:07

Last Modified:

26 Jun 2016 02:05

Publisher DOI:






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