Adaptive Benefit (adaptive + benefit)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

The physiology of predator stress in free-ranging prey

Evan L. Preisser
M.J. Sheriff, C.J. Krebs & R. Boonstra (2009) The sensitive hare: sublethal effects of predator stress on reproduction in snowshoe hares. Journal of Animal Ecology, 78, 1249,1258. Ecologists have only begun to understand the physiological mechanisms underlying individual- and population-level responses of prey- to predator-related stress. Sheriff, Krebs and Boonstra advance this field by providing evidence that predator-induced increases in glucorticoid concentrations in wild female snowshoe hares (Lepus americanus) impact both litter size and offspring condition. They hypothesize that the glucocorticoid-mediated effects on reproduction provides an adaptive benefit: mothers ,programming' their offspring to be timid and risk-averse in high-risk environments should increase their survival probability. This research illuminates the connection between stress physiology and population-level changes and demonstrates the surprisingly far-reaching impact of predation risk. [source]

Cadmium hyperaccumulation protects Thlaspi caerulescens from leaf feeding damage by thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis)

R. F. Jiang
Summary ,,Metal hyperaccumulation has been proposed as a plant defensive strategy. Here, we investigated whether cadmium (Cd) hyperaccumulation protected Thlaspi caerulescens from leaf feeding damage by thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis). ,,Two ecotypes differing in Cd accumulation, Ganges (high) and Prayon (low), were grown in compost amended with 0,1000 mg Cd kg,1 in two experiments under glasshouse conditions. F2 and F3 plants from the Prayon Ganges crosses were grown with 5 mg Cd kg,1. Plants were naturally colonized by thrips and the leaf feeding damage index (LFDI) was assessed. ,,The LFDI decreased significantly with increasing Cd in both ecotypes, and correlated with shoot Cd concentration in a log-linear fashion. Prayon was more attractive to thrips than Ganges, but the ecotypic difference in the LFDI was largely accounted for by the shoot Cd concentration. In the F2 and F3 plants, the LFDI correlated significantly and negatively with shoot Cd, but not with shoot zinc (Zn) or sulphur (S) concentrations. ,,We conclude that Cd hyperaccumulation deters thrips from feeding on T. caerulescens leaves, which may offer an adaptive benefit to the plant. [source]

Offspring performance and the adaptive benefits of prolonged pregnancy: experimental tests in a viviparous lizard

Geoffrey M While
Summary 1Offspring locomotor performance has been shown to influence fitness related traits in a wide range of taxa. One potential mechanism by which viviparous animals can increase the performance (e.g. sprint speed) of their offspring is by prolonging pregnancy (beyond that required for complete development). However, to date studies examining this potentially important maternal effect have been largely descriptive. 2The skink Egernia whitii is an ideal candidate species to examine the consequences of delayed parturition on the performance of offspring as it routinely gives birth asynchronously despite synchronous offspring development. 3Using correlative data from a natural population and experimental manipulations of birthing asynchrony, we tested the prediction that, within litters, last born offspring have a better locomotor performance than first born offspring. 4We show that prolonged pregnancy does significantly influence average offspring locomotor performance; however, contrary to predictions, the direction of this effect is dependent on gestation length and thus offspring date of birth. Last born offspring had significantly poorer performance than first born offspring in litters early in the season with this pattern reversed late in the season. 5These results do not support the hypothesis that prolonged retention of fully formed offspring consistently increases offspring performance; however, they may help us understand the asymmetries in offspring competitive ability generated by birthing asynchrony. [source]

Genetic variation in Arabidopsis thaliana for night-time leaf conductance

ABSTRACT Night-time leaf conductance (gnight) and transpiration may have several adaptive benefits related to plant water, nutrient and carbon relations. Little is known, however, about genetic variation in gnight and whether this variation correlates with other gas exchange traits related to water use and/or native habitat climate. We investigated gnight in 12 natural accessions and three near isogenic lines (NILs) of Arabidopsis thaliana. Genetic variation in gnight was found for the natural accessions, and gnight was negatively correlated with native habitat atmospheric vapour pressure deficit (VPDair), suggesting lower gnight may be favoured by natural selection in drier habitats. However, there were also significant genetic correlations of gnight with daytime gas exchange traits expected to affect plant fitness [i.e. daytime leaf conductance, photosynthesis and intrinsic water-use efficiency (WUEi)], indicating that selection on daytime gas exchange traits may result in indirect selection on gnight. The comparison of three NILs to their parental genotypes identified one quantitative trait locus (QTL) contributing to variation in gnight. Further characterization of genetic variation in gnight within and among populations and species, and of associations with other traits and native habitats will be needed to understand gnight as a putatively adaptive trait. [source]