Depth-dependent plasticity in opsin gene expression varies between damselfish (Pomacentridae) species

Stieb, Sara M., Carleton, Karen L., Cortesi, Fabio, Marshall, N. Justin and Salzburger, Walter (2016) Depth-dependent plasticity in opsin gene expression varies between damselfish (Pomacentridae) species. Molecular Ecology, 25 15: 3645-3661. doi:10.1111/mec.13712

Author Stieb, Sara M.
Carleton, Karen L.
Cortesi, Fabio
Marshall, N. Justin
Salzburger, Walter
Title Depth-dependent plasticity in opsin gene expression varies between damselfish (Pomacentridae) species
Journal name Molecular Ecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1365-294X
Publication date 2016-08-01
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/mec.13712
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 25
Issue 15
Start page 3645
End page 3661
Total pages 17
Place of publication Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Language eng
Subject 1105 Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
1311 Genetics
Abstract Phenotypic plasticity plays an important role in adapting the visual capability of many animal species to changing sensory requirements. Such variability may be driven by developmental change or may result from environmental changes in light habitat, thereby improving performance in different photic environments. In this study, we examined inter- and intraspecific plasticity of visual sensitivities in seven damselfish species, part of the species-rich and colourful fish fauna of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Our goal was to test whether the visual systems of damselfish were tuned to the prevailing light environment in different habitats and/or other aspects of their lifestyle. More specifically, we compared the opsin gene expression levels from individuals living in different photic habitats. We found that all species expressed rod opsin (RH1) used for dim-light vision, and primarily three cone opsins (SWS1, RH2B and RH2A) used for colour vision. While RH1 levels changed exclusively following a diurnal cycle, cone opsin expression varied with depth in four of the seven species. Estimates of visual pigment performance imply that changes in opsin expression adjust visual sensitivities to the dominant photic regime. However, we also discovered that some species show a more stable opsin expression profile. Further, we found indication that seasonal changes, possibly linked to changes in the photic environment, might also trigger opsin expression. These findings suggest that plasticity in opsin gene expression of damselfish is highly species-specific, possibly due to ecological differences in visual tasks or, alternatively, under phylogenetic constraints.
Keyword Gene expression
Phenotypic plasticity
Reef fish
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Grant ID 149400
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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Queensland Brain Institute Publications
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