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Are high-latitude individuals superior competitors?: A test with Rana temporaria tadpoles
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Population and Conservation Biology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Population and Conservation Biology.
2010 (English)In: Evolutionary Ecology, ISSN 0269-7653, E-ISSN 1573-8477, Vol. 24, no 1, 115-131 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Species with a wide distribution over latitudinal gradients often exhibit increasing growth and development rates towards higher latitudes. Ecological theory predicts that these fast-growing genotypes are, in the absence of trade-offs with fast growth, better competitors than low-latitude conspecifics. While knowledge on key ecological traits along latitudinal clines is important for understanding how these clines are maintained, the relative competitive ability of high latitude individuals against low latitude conspecifics has not been tested. Growth and development rates of the common frog Rana temporaria increase along the latitudinal gradient across Scandinavia. Here we investigated larval competition over food resources within and between two R. temporaria populations originating from southern and northern Sweden in an outdoor common garden experiment. We used a factorial design, where southern and northern tadpoles were reared either as single populations or as mixes of the two populations at two densities and predator treatments (absence and non-lethal presence of Aeshna dragonfly larvae). Tadpoles from the high latitude population grew and developed faster and in the beginning of the experiment they hid less and were more active than tadpoles from the low latitude population. When raised together with high latitude tadpoles the southern tadpoles had a longer larval period, however, the response of high latitude tadpoles to the competition by low latitude tadpoles did not differ from their response to intra-population competition. This result was not significantly affected by density or predator treatments. Our results support the hypothesis that high latitude populations are better competitors than their low latitude conspecifics, and suggest that in R. temporaria fast growth and development trade off with other fitness components along the latitudinal gradient across Scandinavia.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 24, no 1, 115-131 p.
Keyword [en]
Activity, Growth, Intraspecfic competition, Latitudinal clines, Rana temporaria
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-96446DOI: 10.1007/s10682-009-9294-4ISI: 000274037000009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-96446DiVA: diva2:171021
Available from: 2007-11-09 Created: 2007-11-09 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Adaptation Along Environmental Gradients: an Evaluation of Physiological Mechanisms and Ecological Constraints
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Adaptation Along Environmental Gradients: an Evaluation of Physiological Mechanisms and Ecological Constraints
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

For ectotherms living in seasonal environments, time available for development and growth is often constrained by the length of the growth season. Declining season length towards higher latitudes often select for latitudinal clines in development and growth rates, exhibiting increasing growth and developmental rates towards the north. However, the physiological and ecological factors enabling these clines are poorly understood.

Our study system included eight populations of Rana temporaria along a 1500 km latitudinal gradient. We found increased growth rates in populations at higher latitudes to be the result of higher growth efficiency, partly due to increased relative gut length. Populations with higher growth rates also exhibited lower standard metabolic rates, implying that fast-growing individuals are able to achieve high growth rates by spending less energy on maintenance metabolism under low activity conditions.

Predator densities, and antipredatory defenses in prey, are assumed to decrease towards higher latitudes. While all study populations responded to predator presence by decreasing activity and foraging, high latitude populations maintained higher activity levels in the presence of the predator. In trials with a free-ranging predator, high latitude tadpoles experienced higher mortality than those from the low latitudes. The higher activity level in the northern populations increases mortality under predation risk, but is probably needed to maintain high growth and development rates.

When competing over resources, tadpoles from the low latitude population were inferior competitors, as indicated by their longer development time when raised together with high latitude tadpoles. We found no effect of latitude on size-corrected burst speed. The general effect of predator presence on burst speed depended on food availability, with well fed tadpoles being faster in the absence, and food restricted being faster in the presence of a predator.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2007. 48 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 366
Keyword
Biology, Rana temporaria, latitudinal clines, growth rate, growth efficiency, SMR, predation, competition, trade-off, Biologi
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-8310 (URN)978-91-554-7023-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2007-11-30, Zootissalen, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Villavägen 9, Uppsala, 10:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2007-11-09 Created: 2007-11-09Bibliographically approved

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