The flow of water in which adult fish live, can affect the body shape and survival of their offspring. This is according to a new study.
A study published today in functional ecology as part of an international collaboration between CRIOBE (French Polynesia) and the University of Glasgow discovered that the survival rate of fish born from parents living in high water conditions is half that of fish born from parents living in low water conditions.
The orange-finned anemonefish Amphiprion chrysopterus was studied in a wild population on Moorea, French Polynesia. The researchers discovered that offspring born to fish that lived in strong currents had a distinct fin shape when they left to find their own “home”. But their growth slowed after they chose an environment to live in.
Animals live in an environment with many variables. The environments of parents and their offspring are frequently not the same. Most fish have two stages of development in the marine environment. An early offspring stage, when young fish can move long distances in open water before choosing a suitable environment for development and growth. And a less mobile adult stage scene.
Before becoming adults, offspring may experience conditions that differ from those of their parents. This new study helps to explain which traits are inherited from their parents. And which are caused by environmental factors such as water flow. Scientists distinguished the influence of water flow experienced by parents from water flow experienced during development.
“On coral reefs, water flow varies between sites as well as over time”. This is said by Daphne Cortese, a Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow who completed her Ph.D. in CRIOBE (University of Paris PSL, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, EPHE). Fish may have differences in the shape, size, and size of their fins and bodies. They may have differences their ability to swim and metabolism, to cope with these varying water currents.”
“However, we did not know until now how much of these differences in traits are caused by their parents and the environment in which they live. Whether they are caused by genes or differences passed down by parents. Or whether the flow of water in which the offspring develops is determined by their traits.”
“In this study, we saw that the aquatic environment of both parents and offspring affects traits,” said Suzanne C. Mills, Associate Professor at PSL University Paris and co-author of the study. “Overall, these results are indicative of the consequences of living in different environments. There a likely trade-off between parent-offspring traits and survival in wild populations,” concluded Ricardo Beldade, National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) at CRIOBE, France, and currently Professor Pontifical University of Chile.