author={Andrew Whitehead},
Fish have radiated to exploit diverse habitats, but little is known about the evolutionary lability and directionality of associated physiological specialization. Killifish of the genus Fundulus present a compelling system to explore the evolution of osmotic tolerance because closely related species have evolved to occupy most osmotic niches, and physiological osmotic tolerance data are available for most species. This study seeks to determine the number of times, and the rate at which… 

Evolutionary Physiology and Genomics in the Highly Adaptable Killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus).

Adaptive evolution can occur readily and rapidly, at least in part because it depends on large amounts of standing genetic variation among many genes that can alter physiological traits, thus informing both biological and medical scientists about genotype-phenotype relationships.

Reciprocal osmotic challenges reveal mechanisms of divergence in phenotypic plasticity in the killifish Fundulus heteroclitus

Results provide insight into the fate of a plastic phenotype after a shift in environmental salinity and help to reveal mechanisms allowing for euryhalinity in killifish following radiation from marine to freshwater habitats.

Functional genomics of physiological plasticity and local adaptation in killifish.

How transcriptome regulation underpins extreme physiological plasticity on osmotic shock and how genomic and transcriptomic variation is associated with locally evolved pollution tolerance are explored.

Genomic mechanisms of evolved physiological plasticity in killifish distributed along an environmental salinity gradient

Comparative transcriptomics reveals a core transcriptional response associated with acute and acclimatory responses to hypoosmotic shock and posits unique mechanisms that enable extreme osmotic tolerance in Atlantic killifish.

Common functional targets of adaptive micro‐ and macro‐evolutionary divergence in killifish

Comparative physiology and functional genomics are integrated to explore the mechanistic underpinnings of evolved variation in osmotic plasticity within and among two species of killifish, finding an unusual pattern of baseline transcriptome divergence.

Euryhalinity in An Evolutionary Context

Interspecific divergence of ionoregulatory physiology in killifish: insight into adaptation and speciation

Results indicate that L. parva may increase their transcript levels of osmoregulatory genes when faced with any type of salinity challenge, providing unique insight into the ion/os moregulatory physiology that underlies species and population differences in salinity tolerance.

Gene expression plasticity in response to salinity acclimation in threespine stickleback ecotypes from different salinity habitats

Patterns of gene expression plasticity in the gills of a freshwater‐adapted and a saltwater‐ Adapted ecotype of threespine stickleback exposed to a range of salinities are characterized to demonstrate that multiple patterns of changes in gene expression Plasticity can occur following colonization of novel habitats.

Osmoregulatory physiology and rapid evolution of salinity tolerance in threespine stickleback recently introduced to fresh water

Enhanced freshwater tolerance has evolved rapidly in recently landlocked stickleback compared with their anadromous ancestors, but the former have retained ancestral seawater-osmoregulatory function.

Phylogeny, Classification, and Evolution of Salinity Tolerance of the North American Topminnows and Killifishes, Family Fundulidae (Teleostei: Cyprinodontiformes)

This study provides the most data-inclusive current hypothesis of evolutionary relationships for the Fundulidae, based on a combination of morphological, karyological, behavioral, and nucleotide (two mitochondrial and two nuclear genes) data, and indicates that the Family Fundulids is monophyletic, and the sister group to a clade composed of the Cyprinodontidae, Profundul Families, and Goodeidae within the Cy Prinodentiformes.




  • C. Lee
  • Environmental Science
    Evolution; international journal of organic evolution
  • 1999
Invasions of fresh water by marine organisms have been of great interest to evolutionary biologists and paleontologists because they typically constitute major evolutionary transitions. Recent (< 200

Fundulus as the premier teleost model in environmental biology: opportunities for new insights using genomics.

  • K. BurnettL. Bain D. Crawford
  • Biology, Environmental Science
    Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part D, Genomics & proteomics
  • 2007

Speciation in killifish and the role of salt tolerance

Strong evidence for differential adaptation to salinity is found and no evidence for F1 hybrid inviability is found, however, the general lack of evidence for genic isolation in teleost fish is discussed and whether this is a real phenomenon or simply a reflection of experimental design.

Intraspecific divergence of ionoregulatory physiology in the euryhaline teleost Fundulus heteroclitus: possible mechanisms of freshwater adaptation

The data suggest that northern killifish are better adapted to freshwater environments and that minimizing Cl- imbalance appears to be the key physiological difference accounting for their greater freshwater tolerance.

Environment and Salinity Tolerance in the Genus Fundulus

It is suggested that freshwater species of Fundulus were derived from fully euryhaline ancestors which gradually lost the ability to live in sea water during extended isolation from brackish or marine environments.

Comparative mitochondrial genomics within and among species of killifish

Evolution of mitochondrial genomes within Fundulus is primarily governed by interaction between strong purifying selection and demographic influences, including larger historical population size in the south.

Salinity tolerance and osmotic regulation in the diamond killifish, Adinia xenica

  • F. Nordlie
  • Environmental Science
    Environmental Biology of Fishes
  • 2004
Plasma osmotic concentrations were higher at common ambient salinities, but in a generally similar overall pattern of response, compared with such euryhaline cyprinodontids as Cyprinodon variegatus and Fundulus kansae.

Hybridization and reproductive isolation among syntopic populations of the topminnows Fundulus notatus and F. olivaceus

Although hybridization was detected in all syntopic populations, an assessment of the proportion of hybrid individuals indicated a deficiency of hybrids relative to expectations under random mating, and it was determined that, although mtDNA introgression was prevalent and extended beyond the zones of contact, evidence of nuclear introgressive was limited to the zone of sympatry.

Genetic isolation and evolutionary history of oases populations of the Baja California killifish, Fundulus lima

Each oasis is genetically distinct, yet there is no evidence of a␣marked genetic bottleneck in any populations (Haplotype diversity between 0.5 and 0.8), so future relocation plans will need to be done cautiously to preserve the genetic identity of the original populations.