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Balancing food availability and hydrodynamic constraint: phenotypic plasticity and growth in Simulium noelleri blackfly larvae.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Ecology and Environmental Science.
2006 (English)In: Oecologia, ISSN 0029-8549, Vol. 147, no 1, 39-46 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Organisms through phenotypic plasticity can cope with multiple changed environmental conditions. Theory predicts that animals in streams and rivers should be able to balance demands of the needs to obtain food efficiently and to adjust response to hydrodynamic variability. This study examined effects of variations in food availability and current velocity on the feeding structure and growth rate of Simulium noelleri blackfly larvae. The larvae developed larger labral fans and more rays under slow current and low food regimes than in fast current and high food conditions. In both fast and slow current regimes, growth rates were higher and development periods to the final-instar stage were shorter in high food treatments. The estimated flux rates of food particles through labral fans under high food treatments for both fast and slow current regimes were higher than those under low food treatments. Although both food and current velocity appeared to have selected for flexibility of feeding structure and growth rate, food availability was a more important factor for phenotypic and developmental plasticity than current velocity. The results indicate a strong link between environmental changes in food availability and current velocity, phenotypic plasticity, and growth rate of S. noelleri. This study suggests that plasticity of ecomorphs with macroevolutionary significance may play a role in the early evolutionary stages of blackfly larvae.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 147, no 1, 39-46 p.
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-20637DOI: 10.1007/s00442-005-0243-9PubMedID: 16187108OAI: diva2:209185
Available from: 2009-03-24 Created: 2009-03-24 Last updated: 2009-03-24

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