Not a one-way street: Evolution shapes environment of Connecticut lakes

May 23rd, 2012 | By | Category: Featured Story, Water

Environmental change is the selective force that preserves adaptive traits in organisms and is a primary driver of evolution. However, it is less well known that evolutionary change in organisms also trigger fundamental changes in the environment.

Evolutionary change in the alewife also drove changes in the ecology of some Connecticut lakes, particularly in water flea (d.ambigua) and zooplankton (bosminia).

Evolutionary change in the alewife also drove changes in the ecology of some Connecticut lakes, particularly in water flea (d.ambigua) and zooplankton (bosminia).

Yale University researchers found a prime example of this evolutionary feedback loop in a few lakes in Connecticut, where dams built 300 years ago in Colonial times trapped a fish called the alewife.

In a study published May 23 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Academy B, the Yale team describes how this event fundamentally changed the structure of the alewife and, with it, the water flea that the alewife feeds upon and the food chain that supports them both.

For more on this story, visit: YaleNews | Not a one-way street: Evolution shapes environment of Connecticut lakes.

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