Recently, MSc student Karine Kiragosyan of Bremen university joined the PlantFish group at Stockholm university for a 1-month visit. Karine’s work will focus on individual variation in the morphology of sticklebacks, and her results will tell us more about the relative importance of the environment for shaping individual morphology.

Individual organisms show a tremendous variation in morphological traits, and the factors that govern morphology are known to range from genetics to environmental factors. One model species for studies on individual variation is the three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus), which also happens to be one of the key players in shallow bays in the Baltic Sea. A recent study on stickleback morphology in the Adriatic Sea has, for example, shown that avian predators induces stickleback adaptation of defensive traits (dorsal spines, lateral plates, etc.).

In her thesis, Karine will work with sticklebacks collected during the PlantFish 2014 field survey. Using a combination of simple measurements and computer-aided calculations of stickleback morphology, Karine’s result will shed more light on what factors that govern stickleback morphology.

Welcome to Stockholm, Karine!