Article : Co-existence with non-native brook trout breaks down the integration of phenotypic traits in brown trout parr

15 novembre 2017
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Résultats de RDI

La coexistence avec une espèce introduite bouscule l’équilibre des traits écologiques d’une espèce native.
Functional Ecology, Volume 31, Issue 8

A phenotypic syndrome refers to complex patterns of integration among functionally related traits in an organism that defines how the organism interacts with its environment and sustains itself.

Human-induced biological invasions have become important sources of environmental modifications. However, the extent to which invasive species affect the phenotypic syndromes of individuals in a native is currently unknown. Such knowledge has important implications for understanding ecological interactions and the management of biological invasions.

Here, field monitoring in a natural stream were combined with standardized estimates of behavioral, physiological and morphological traits to address the hypothesis that coexistence with a non-native invader induces a novel environmental pressure that disrupts the adaptive integration among phenotypic traits of the native species. We compared the strength of integration among key phenotypic traits (i.e. aerobic scope, standard metabolic rate, body growth, activity, and body shape) and ecological niche traits (i.e. spring and summer diet, home range size, daily movements) of an allopatric group of native brown trout (Salmo trutta) with a group of brown trout living in sympatry with non-native brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis).
We found that the integration of phenotypic traits was substantially reduced in the sympatric brown trout and that allopatric and sympatric brown trout differed in key phenotypic and ecological niche traits. Brown trout living in sympatry with non-native brook trout consumed more terrestrial prey, had smaller home ranges, and a stouter body shape. Sympatric brown trout also had lower specific growth rate, suggesting a lower fitness.

The results are generally in line with our hypothesis suggesting that the reduction in fitness observed in sympatric brown trout is caused by the breakdown of their adaptive phenotypic syndrome. This may be caused by differences in the plasticity of the response of phenotypic traits to the novel selection pressure induced by the non-native species. Our results may help explaining deleterious effects of non-native species reported in the absence of direct competition with the native species.