We examine the interaction between phenotypic plasticity and evolutionary adaptation using muscle gene expression levels among populations of the fish Fundulus heteroclitus acclimated to three temperatures. Our analysis reveals shared patterns of phenotypic plasticity due to thermal acclimation as well as non-neutral patterns of variation among populations adapted to different thermal environments. For the majority of significant differences in gene expression levels, phenotypic plasticity and adaptation operate on different suites of genes. The subset of genes that demonstrate both adaptive differences and phenotypic plasticity, however, exhibit countergradient variation of expression. Thus, expression differences among populations counteract environmental effects, reducing the phenotypic differentiation between populations. Finally, gene-by-environment interactions among genes with non-neutral patterns of expression suggest that the penetrance of adaptive variation depends on the environmental conditions experienced by the individual.
- phenotypic plasticity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics