Effects of ontogenetic scaling on resource exploitation and cohort size distributions
2010 (English)In: Oikos, ISSN 0030-1299, E-ISSN 1600-0706, Vol. 119, no 2, 384-392 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Variation in growth rates among individuals leading to the formation of broad size distributions is commonly observed in animal cohorts. Here we use laboratory derived size-scaling relationships to identify mechanisms driving changes in size distribution patterns within cohorts during early ontogeny. We introduced young-of-the-year perch (Perca fluviatilis) cohorts with different variation in body size distributions in pond enclosures. We kept the exploitative competitive environment constant by adjusting the number of introduced fish such that metabolic requirements were constant between different treatments. Based on modelling results we theoretically derived relative growth rates of differently sized fish when only taken exploitative competitive interactions into account. In agreement with predictions we found that initial variation in body size was negatively correlated with subsequent changes in body size variation in the pond experiment. Corresponding results were obtained in a field study covering 13 studied young-of-the-year perch cohorts in a small lake. Besides having a lower maximum growth capacity, initially large fish also suffered more from resource limitation in our experiment. The results suggest that exploitation competition is a major factor behind growth patterns in young fish cohorts, generally leading to size convergence. To explain the commonly observed pattern of size divergence in animal cohorts, including fish, we suggest that differential timing of diet shifts or mechanisms not related to exploitative interactions must be taken into account. For diet shifts to lead to size divergence we suggest that individuals with an initial size advantage need access to an exclusive prey which has a high growth potential. This, in turn, allows initially larger individuals to surf on a wave of growing prey while individuals only capable to feed on a depressed initial resource experience low growth rates.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, Inc. , 2010. Vol. 119, no 2, 384-392 p.
Research subject Animal Ecology; Limnology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-25765DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0706.2009.17897.xISI: 000275557500021OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-25765DiVA: diva2:233723
Felstavat ord i titeln: effetcs2009-09-022009-09-022011-02-24Bibliographically approved