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Costs of Inducible Defence along a Resource Gradient

Brönmark, Christer LU ; Lakowitz, Thomas LU ; Nilsson, Anders LU ; Ahlgren, Johan LU ; Lennartsdotter, Charlotte and Hollander, Johan LU (2012) In PLoS ONE 7(1).
Abstract
In addition to having constitutive defence traits, many organisms also respond to predation by phenotypic plasticity. In order for plasticity to be adaptive, induced defences should incur a benefit to the organism in, for example, decreased risk of predation. However, the production of defence traits may include costs in fitness components such as growth, time to reproduction, or fecundity. To test the hypothesis that the expression of phenotypic plasticity incurs costs, we performed a common garden experiment with a freshwater snail, Radix balthica, a species known to change morphology in the presence of molluscivorous fish. We measured a number of predator-induced morphological and behavioural defence traits in snails that we reared in... (More)
In addition to having constitutive defence traits, many organisms also respond to predation by phenotypic plasticity. In order for plasticity to be adaptive, induced defences should incur a benefit to the organism in, for example, decreased risk of predation. However, the production of defence traits may include costs in fitness components such as growth, time to reproduction, or fecundity. To test the hypothesis that the expression of phenotypic plasticity incurs costs, we performed a common garden experiment with a freshwater snail, Radix balthica, a species known to change morphology in the presence of molluscivorous fish. We measured a number of predator-induced morphological and behavioural defence traits in snails that we reared in the presence or absence of chemical cues from fish. Further, we quantified the costs of plasticity in fitness characters related to fecundity and growth. Since plastic responses may be inhibited under limited resource conditions, we reared snails in different densities and thereby levels of competition. Snails exposed to predator cues grew rounder and thicker shells, traits confirmed to be adaptive in environments with fish. Defence traits were consistently expressed independent of density, suggesting strong selection from predatory molluscivorous fish. However, the expression of defence traits resulted in reduced growth rate and fecundity, particularly with limited resources. Our results suggest full defence in predator related traits regardless of resource availability, and costs of defence consequently paid in traits related to fitness. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
PLoS ONE
volume
7
issue
1
publisher
Public Library of Science
external identifiers
  • wos:000301639600024
  • pmid:22291961
  • scopus:84856187229
ISSN
1932-6203
DOI
10.1371/journal.pone.0030467
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
8490e92f-89c9-4e67-a8bf-9d75c8f1b8ca (old id 2367522)
date added to LUP
2012-03-07 13:12:27
date last changed
2017-10-01 04:02:09
@article{8490e92f-89c9-4e67-a8bf-9d75c8f1b8ca,
  abstract     = {In addition to having constitutive defence traits, many organisms also respond to predation by phenotypic plasticity. In order for plasticity to be adaptive, induced defences should incur a benefit to the organism in, for example, decreased risk of predation. However, the production of defence traits may include costs in fitness components such as growth, time to reproduction, or fecundity. To test the hypothesis that the expression of phenotypic plasticity incurs costs, we performed a common garden experiment with a freshwater snail, Radix balthica, a species known to change morphology in the presence of molluscivorous fish. We measured a number of predator-induced morphological and behavioural defence traits in snails that we reared in the presence or absence of chemical cues from fish. Further, we quantified the costs of plasticity in fitness characters related to fecundity and growth. Since plastic responses may be inhibited under limited resource conditions, we reared snails in different densities and thereby levels of competition. Snails exposed to predator cues grew rounder and thicker shells, traits confirmed to be adaptive in environments with fish. Defence traits were consistently expressed independent of density, suggesting strong selection from predatory molluscivorous fish. However, the expression of defence traits resulted in reduced growth rate and fecundity, particularly with limited resources. Our results suggest full defence in predator related traits regardless of resource availability, and costs of defence consequently paid in traits related to fitness.},
  articleno    = {e30467},
  author       = {Brönmark, Christer and Lakowitz, Thomas and Nilsson, Anders and Ahlgren, Johan and Lennartsdotter, Charlotte and Hollander, Johan},
  issn         = {1932-6203},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  publisher    = {Public Library of Science},
  series       = {PLoS ONE},
  title        = {Costs of Inducible Defence along a Resource Gradient},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0030467},
  volume       = {7},
  year         = {2012},
}