WRASSE: Adaptation or plasticity

Adaptation or plasticity as response to large scale translocations and harvesting over a climatic gradient in the marine ecosystem?

About the project

The use of wrasses as cleaner fish has become a cost-effective alternative for the biological control of sea lice infestation in salmon aquaculture. However, while catches and translocations of wrasses have rocketed in the last years, our knowledge on fundamental ecological and evolutionary aspects of the species remains largely unknown. This project aims at applying state-of-the-art approaches in Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS), i.e. genomics and transcriptomics, under natural and experimental conditions to gain fundamental scientific understanding regarding the relative importance of plasticity versus local adaptation in marine fishes in response to climatic (e.g. global warming) and human stressors (e.g. translocations and harvesting). Corkwing wrasse (Symphodus melops, Linnaeus, 1758) is a unique model species to accomplish this kind of studies. First, its sedentary behavior and genetic structure point towards the existence of locally adapted populations. Second, translocations are accomplished on adult wild fish. Since escapees or intentional releases are common, this species offers excellent possibilities to investigate interactions between native and "foreign" stocks, removing the selective effects of domestication under a hatchery-released scheme. Third, in contrast to other wrasses, the draft genome of corkwing wrasse is currently being sequenced and completed shortly, opening huge possibilities to deepen into our understanding of adaptive fitness in the marine realm. Hence, genomic scans of Scandinavian populations and gene expression profiling under controlled temperature gradients will: 1) characterize the genomic resources of Scandinavian stocks; 2) identify those genes/genomic regions regulating adaptation to temperature; 3) discriminate native versus translocated fish; 4) compare their reproductive success and fitness performance; and 5) insight into the effects of harvesting pressures on genes/genomic regions associated to life-history traits.

Financing

This project is funded by The Research Council of Norway.

Cooperation

The University of Agder (UiA) will lead the project in close collaboration with the Institute of Marine Research (IMR), Flødevigen and the Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES) team at the University of Oslo.
Published Dec. 3, 2014 1:49 PM - Last modified Dec. 3, 2014 2:46 PM