Shifts in food quality for herbivorous consumer growth: multiple golden means in the life history
2014 (English)In: Ecology, ISSN 0012-9658, E-ISSN 1939-9170, Vol. 95, no 5, 1272-1284 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Consumer growth can be affected by imbalances between the nutrient content of the consumer and its food resource. Although ontogenetic-driven changes in animal composition are well documented, their potential consequences for the organism's sensitivity to food quality constraints have remained elusive. Here we show that the potential growth response of the copepod Mixodiaptomus laciniatus (as %RNA and RNA:DNA ratio) to the natural gradient of seston carbon (C):nutrient ratio is unimodal and stage specific. Solution of the equation given by the first derivative function provided the optimum C:nutrient ratio for maximum stage-specific growth, which increased during ontogeny. The peakedness of the function indicated that animal vulnerability to suboptimal food quality decreased as juveniles reached adulthood. Consistent with these results, a field experiment demonstrated that potential consumer growth responded to variations in seston C:phosphorus ratio, and that early life stages were particularly vulnerable to suboptimal food quality.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 95, no 5, 1272-1284 p.
copepods, ecological stoichiometry, food quality, herbivorous consumer, Lake La Caldera, Spain, life history, Mixodiaptomus laciniatus, nutrient ratio, RNA:DNA ratio, unimodal response
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-105932DOI: 10.1890/13-0410.1ISI: 000336740500017OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-105932DiVA: diva2:733198