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Does an evolutionary change in the water sowbug Asellus aquaticus L. alter its functional role?
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Ecology. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2011 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 60 credits / 90 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The ecology behind evolutionary diversification is a well studied area of research, whereas the effects of evolution on ecosystems get little attention. In line with ecological theory, evolutionary diversification of a species could influence different ecosystem aspects such as food web composition, energy flow, nutrient cycling etc. The main objective of this study was to investigate whether two diverging ecotypes (reed and chara) of Asellus aquaticus differ regarding their role in two aquatic ecosystem processes: decomposition of terrestrial leaves and grazing of periphyton. Their role in ecosystem process as well as treatment effects on fitness, measured as growth and survival, were investigated in a laboratory experiment with various levels of intra-specific competition and inter-specific interactions with the amphipod Gammarus pulex. The isopods were collected from two Swedish lakes: Lake Tåkern and Lake Fardume. These two lakes represent different history of ecotype divergence. The experimental design consisted of 2-L aquaria, each providing elm leaves (Ulmus glabra), oak leaves (Quercus roburleaves) and periphyton as food sources. Ten treatments with five replicates were applied for each lake and the experiment lasted for four weeks. The study showed that there was no significant difference between chara and reed ecotype in their functional role. However, the rate of ecosystem processes per individual decreased in competitive interactions. In high density, decomposition per dry weight consumer was low and total algae biomass was high at the end of four weeks due to intra-specific competition. Moreover, ecosystem processes were lowest in inter-specific competition between Gammarus pulex and each ecotype. Present study also shows that ecotypes from the different lakes, having different history, had different responses to mortality and growth. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 23 p.
Keyword [en]
Asellus aquaticus, eco-evolutionary dynamic, ecosystem process, Gammarus pulex, intra-specific, inter-specific.
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-74766ISRN: LiTH-IFM- Ex--11/2419--SEOAI: diva2:492408
Subject / course
2011-05-27, BL32, Linköpings universitet; SE-581 83 LINKÖPING, Linköping, 13:45 (English)
Life Earth Science
Available from: 2012-02-08 Created: 2012-02-07 Last updated: 2012-02-08Bibliographically approved

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