Complete compensation in Daphnia fecundity and stage-specific biomass in response to size-independent mortality.

Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
Journal of Animal Ecology (Impact Factor: 4.73). 03/2010; 79(4):871-8. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2010.01679.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT 1. Recent theory suggests that compensation or even overcompensation in stage-specific biomass can arise in response to increased mortality. Which stage that will show compensation depends on whether maturation or reproduction is the more limiting process in the population. Size-structured theory also provides a strong link between the type of regulation and the expected population dynamics as both depend on size/stage-specific competitive ability. 2. We imposed a size-independent mortality on a consumer-resource system with Daphnia pulex feeding on Scenedesmus obtusiusculus to asses the compensatory responses in Daphnia populations. We also extended an existing stage-structured biomass model by including several juvenile stages to test whether this extension affected the qualitative results of the existing model. 3. We found complete compensation in juvenile biomass and total population fecundity in response to harvesting. The compensation in fecundity was caused by both a higher proportion of fecund females and a larger clutch size under increased mortality. We did not detect any difference in resource levels between treatments. 4. The model results showed that both stages of juveniles have to be superior to adults in terms of resource competition for the compensatory response to take place in juvenile biomass. 5. The results are all in correspondence with that the regulating process within the population was reproduction. From this, we also conclude that juveniles were superior competitors to adults, which has implications for population dynamics and the kind of cohort cycles seen in Daphnia populations. 6. The compensatory responses demonstrated in this experiment have major implications for community dynamics and are potentially present in any organisms with food-dependent growth or development.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Ontogenetic development is a fundamental aspect of the life history of all organisms and has major effects on population and community dynamics. We postulate a general conceptual framework for understanding these effects and claim that two potential energetics bottlenecks at the level of the individual organism--the rate by which it develops and the rate by which it reproduces--form a fundamental route to symmetry-breaking in ecological systems, leading to ontogenetic asymmetry in energetics. Unstructured ecological theory, which ignores ontogenetic development, corresponds to a limiting case only, in which mass-specific rates of biomass production through somatic growth and reproduction, and biomass loss through mortality, are independent of body size (ontogenetic symmetry). Ontogenetic symmetry results in development and reproduction being limited to the same extent by food density. In all other cases, symmetry-breaking occurs. Ontogenetic asymmetry results in increases in juvenile, adult, or even total biomass in response to mortality. At the community level, this gives rise to alternative stable states via predator-induced shifts in prey size distributions. Ontogenetic asymmetry furthermore leads to two distinct types of cycles in population dynamics, depending on whether development or reproduction is most energy limited. We discuss the mechanisms giving rise to these phenomena and the empirical support for them. We conclude that the concepts of ontogenetic symmetry and ontogenetic asymmetry form a novel and general organizing principle on which future ecological theory should be developed.
    Ecology 07/2013; 94(7):1487-98. DOI:10.1890/12-1883.1 · 5.00 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Experimental and theoretical studies show that mortality imposed on a population can counter-intuitively increase the density of a specific life-history stage or total population density. Understanding positive population-level effects of mortality is advancing, illuminating implications for population, community, and applied ecology. Reconciling theory and data, we found that the mathematical models used to study mortality effects vary in the effects predicted and mechanisms proposed. Experiments predominantly demonstrate stage-specific density increases in response to mortality. We argue that the empirical evidence supports theory based on stage-structured population models but not on unstructured models. We conclude that stage-specific positive mortality effects are likely to be common in nature and that accounting for within-population individual variation is essential for developing ecological theory.
    Trends in Ecology & Evolution 09/2014; 29(11). DOI:10.1016/j.tree.2014.08.006 · 15.35 Impact Factor
  • Source


Available from
May 15, 2014