What is common to two recent papers (Alho et al. 2011; Teacher et al. 2011) about ninespine stickleback phylogeography and threespine stickleback vertebral numbers, respectively? They were both published in PLoS One, an online journal that publishes incredible numbers of papers from variety of fields.
While I much like the concept and format of PLos One, it is problematic in sense that one cannot anymore have an overview what they are publishing. I subscribe to their RSS feed and have had a habit of scanning through the recent submissions. However, have a break for a week or so, and there is too much submissions to be scanned – one’s working days would vanish just scanning through lot of stuff of no interest. I guess the only way to find the relevant papers from the sea of unrelevant ones is targeted searches – one does not stumble on papers of interest in PLoS One by accident.
And here comes the punch line: with this post, I want to draw attention to two interesting papers which are in risk of becoming buried in PLoS archives. The first of them makes use of large cross to look for heritability of vertebral numbers in three-spine sticklebacks, and whether there is positive correlation between vertebral numbers and body size in this species. As it turns out, there isn’t, but the weak positive correlation between body size and vertebra numbers is due to environmental correlation between the traits.
The other paper follows up our earlier work (Shikano T., Y. Shimada, G. Herczeg & J. Merilä 2010. History vs. habitat type: explaining the genetic structure of European nine-spined stickleback (Pungitius pungitius) populations. Molecular Ecology 19: 1147-1161) and indetifies a secondary contact zone of two accent lineages of nine-spined sticklebacks in the Danish Straights. This is an interesting finding as we have reasons believe (work in progress) that these two accent lineages do not anymore mix but are genetically incompatible. Follow this space for further news on this topic…
Alho J.S., T. Leinonen & J. Merilä 2011. Inheritance of vertebral numbers in the three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus). PLoS One 6: e195
Teacher A.G.F., T. Shikano, M.E. Karjalainen & J. Merilä 2011. Phylogeography and genetic structuring of European nine-spined sticklebacks (Pungitius pungitius) – mitochondrial DNA evidence. PLoS ONE 6: e19476.