Assessment of traditional versus geometric morphometrics for discriminating populations of the Tropheus moorii species complex (Teleostei : Cichlidae), a Lake Tanganyika model for allopatric speciation

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2008
Authors:M. Maderbacher, Bauer, C. , Herler, J. , Postl, L. , Makasa, L. , Sturmbauer, C.
Journal:Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research
ISBN Number:0947-5745
Accession Number:WOS:000254953600009

Lake Tanganyika harbours the oldest and ecologically, morphologically and behaviourally most diverse species flock of cichlid fishes. Its species are excellent subjects for the study of explosive speciation and adaptive radiation. Many species are subdivided into numerous genetically and phenotypically distinct populations, often classified as distinct geographical races or colour morphs, which mostly differ in colour and much less in terms of morphology. This study for the first time quantifies morphological differences among such morphs by studying three populations of Tropheus moorii. We compared 'traditional morphometrics' (TM) and 'geometric morphometrics' (GM) to explore their potential for discriminating populations. So far species description and population discrimination are almost solely based on TM in the form of standardized measurements, although specialists are aware of their lack of diagnostic power for discrimination of closely related entities. Moreover, comprehensive TM measurements are time consuming and can best be done on dead specimens which have to be preserved in the case re-measuring is necessary. In contrast, GM can also be based on photographs and computer scans of anaesthetized fish, so that the same individual can be repeatedly analysed during its ontogeny. Here, we show that GM is more flexible in data acquisition and more powerful in the discrimination of species and closely related populations. While TM is restricted to distances and ratios of distances, GM not only includes these measurements indirectly, but also allows for body shape analysis using a semi-landmark approach. It can be equally standardized as TM by defining diagnostic landmarks. Data description by canonical variate analysis was most informative using GM data including semi-landmarks, whereas differences between populations were significant (p < 0.05) based on both morphological approaches.

URL:<Go to ISI>://WOS:000254953600009

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