Date of Award

2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.Sc.

Department

Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research

First Advisor

Heath, Daniel

Second Advisor

Love, Oliver

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

The capacity to face and overcome environmental change when outside its native range is expected to ultimately determine the relative success of an invasive species. While mechanisms such as phenotypic flexibility and/or adaptation are expected to enable successful invasive species to adjust and succeed in these novel environments, there is still a general lack of empirical experimental data regarding the factors that facilitate the invasion success of taxa such as aquatic vertebrates. Combining a multi-scale (physiology and gene transcription) and experimental approach (water temperature) I examined the adaptation/acclimation to a thermal stressor as mechanisms to explain invasion success in the Round goby (Neogobious melanstomus) across populations varying in invasion stage within the Laurentian Great Lakes of North America. This thesis provides evidence of the Round goby showing transcriptional and physiological changes across thermal treatments, invasion categories, and functional responses across time since invasion. These results appear to be evidence of adaptation and are likely a result of plasticity. These combined results suggest that acclimation/adaptation in novel conditions are advantageous to Round gobies when colonizing novel environments and are likely an important factor in invasion success across species generally.

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