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Selective predation by perch (Perca fluviatilis) on a freshwater isopod, in two macrophyte substrates.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Ecology .
2010 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 40 credits / 60 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Recent studies show that populations of the freshwater isopod Asellus aquaticus L. can rapidly become locally differentiated when submerged stonewort (Chara spp.) vegetation expands in lakes. In the novel Chara habitat, isopods become lighter pigmented and smaller than in the ancestral reed stands. In this study, I used laboratory experiments to investigate if selective predation by fish could be a possible explanation for these phenotypic changes. Predation from fish is generally considered to be a strong selective force on macroinvertebrate traits. In the first experiment I measured perch (Perca fluviatilis L.) handling time for three size classes of Asellus to see which size of those that would be the most profitable to feed upon. No difference in handling time was detected between prey sizes, hence the largest size would be the most beneficial to feed upon. In a second experiment I let perch feed on a mixture of Asellus phenotypes in aquaria manipulated to mimic the substrates in either the Chara or the reed habitats. Remaining isopods were significantly smaller and lighter pigmented in the fish aquaria than in the controls, showing that the perch preferred to feed on large and dark individuals. In the Chara habitat, selection on isopod pigmentation was according to what could be expected from background matching, but in the reed habitat selection was quite the opposite. These results support the hypothesis that predation from fish is a strong selective force behind the rapid local adaptation seen in Asellus populations in the novel Chara habitat.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. , 14 p.
Keyword [en]
fish predation, perch, Asellus aquaticus, divergent selection, habitat-specific adaptation, background matching.
National Category
Biological Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-58018ISRN: LITH-IFM-A-EX--10/2307—SEOAI: diva2:330599
2010-05-28, Planck, Fysikhuset på Linköpings Universitet, Linköping, 13:50 (English)
Life Earth Science
Available from: 2010-08-18 Created: 2010-07-16 Last updated: 2010-08-18Bibliographically approved

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