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Directional genetic selection by pulp mill effluent on multiple natural populations of three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus)
Södertörn University, School of Life Sciences, Biology. Södertörn University, School of Life Sciences, Molecular biology.
Södertörn University, School of Life Sciences, Environmental science. Södertörn University, School of Life Sciences, Biology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3389-4162
2011 (English)In: Ecotoxicology, ISSN 0963-9292, E-ISSN 1573-3017, Vol. 20, 503-512 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Contamination can cause a rapid environmental change which may require populations to respond with evolutionary changes. To evaluate the effects of pulp mill effluents on population genetics, we sampled three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) near four pulp mills and four adjacent reference sites and analyzed Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP) to compare genetic variability. A fine scale genetic structure was detected and samples from polluted sites separated from reference sites in multidimensional scaling plots (P < 0.005, 1000 permutations) and locus-by-locus Analysis of Molecular Variance (AMOVA) further confirmed that habitats are significantly separated (F(ST) = 0.021, P < 0.01, 1023 permutations). The amount of genetic variation between populations did not differ between habitats, and populations from both habitats had similar levels of heterozygosity (polluted sites Nei's Hs = 0.11, reference sites Nei's Hs = 0.11). Still, pairwise F(ST): s between three, out of four, pairs of polluted-reference sites were significant. A F(ST)-outlier analysis showed that 21 (8.4%) loci were statistically different from a neutral distribution at the P < 0.05 level and therefore indicated to be under divergent selection. When removing 13 F(ST)-outlier loci, significant at the P < 0.01 level, differentiation between habitats disappeared in a multidimensional scaling plot. In conclusion, pulp mill effluence has acted as a selective agent on natural populations of G. aculeatus, causing a convergence in genotype composition change at multiple sites in an open environment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 20, 503-512 p.
National Category
Ecology Genetics
Research subject
Environmental Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-7666DOI: 10.1007/s10646-011-0639-8ISI: 000289848600003PubMedID: 21455608ScopusID: 2-s2.0-79955829367Local ID: 1328/42/2010OAI: diva2:415116
Evolutionary adaptation to environmental disturbance in marine ecosystems: genetic ecotoxicology in the Baltic Sea
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, A063-10
Available from: 2011-05-05 Created: 2011-04-04 Last updated: 2014-02-11Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Genetic response to pollution in sticklebacks; natural selection in the wild
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Genetic response to pollution in sticklebacks; natural selection in the wild
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The last century, humans have been altering almost all natural environments at an accelerating rate, including the Baltic Sea that has highly eutrophicated areas and many coastal industries such as Pulp-mills. For animals living in a habitat that changes there are basically two alternatives, either to cope with the change or become locally extinct. This thesis aims to investigate if recent anthropogenic disturbance in the Baltic Sea can affect natural populations on a genetic level through natural selection.

First, we found a fine-scale genetic structure in three-spine sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) populations along the Swedish coast (paper I), indicating limited gene-flow between populations in geographic proximity. Different genetic markers, specifically Amplified Fragment Lenght Polymorpism (AFLP, and microsatellites,  gave different results, highlighting the heterogeneous character of genomes which demonstrates that it is important to choose a genetic marker that is relevant for the question at hand. With a population genomic approach, and a multilocus genetic marker (AFLP), we detected convergent evolution in genotype composition in stickleback populations living in environments affected by pulp-mill effluent (paper II) and in highly eutrophicated environments (paper III), compared to adjacent reference populations. We found loci, in both studies (paper II, III), that were different from a neutral distribution and thus probably under divergent selection for the habitat differences investigated. The selective effect from pulp-mill effluents were more pronounced, but the two different habitats had mutual characters (AFLP loci). In paper IV, we converted five anonymous AFLP loci to sequenced markers and aligned them to the stickleback genome. Four out of five loci aligned within, or close to, coding regions on chromosome I, chromosome VIII, chromosome XIX and chromosome XX. One of the loci, located on chromosome VIII and identified as under divergent selection in both paper II and III, has been identified in other studies as to be under selection for fresh water adaptation, including Baltic Sea stickleback populations.

In conclusion, anthropogenic alterations of natural environments can have evolutionary consequences, probably adaptive, for the animals living there and the evolutionary response exhibited by natural populations can be very fast.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, 2013. 41 p.
Södertörn doctoral dissertations, ISSN 1652-7399 ; 79
Population genomics, genome scan, divergent selection, Gasterosteus aculeatus, Baltic Sea, pollution
National Category
Evolutionary Biology Genetics Environmental Sciences
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-18919 (URN)978-91-7447-702-3 (ISBN)978-91-86069-67-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-06-14, Ahlmansalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, 10:00 (English)

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Manuscript. Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2013-05-22 Created: 2013-05-22 Last updated: 2014-01-31Bibliographically approved

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