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Trade-offs limiting the evolution of coloniality: ecological displacement rates used to measure small costs

TitleTrade-offs limiting the evolution of coloniality: ecological displacement rates used to measure small costs
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsYokota K, Sterner RW
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B
Volume278
Issue1704
Start Page458
Pagination458-463
Date Published12/2010
Type of ArticleResearch
ISSN0962-8452
Keywordsalgae, competition, displacement, facultative coloniality, multicellularily, Phytoplankton
Abstract

Multicellular organisms that benefit from division of labour are presumably descended from colonial species that initially derived benefits from larger colony size, before the evolution of specialization. Life in a colony can have costs as well as benefits, but these can be hard to measure. We measured physiological costs to life in a colony using a novel method based on population dynamics, comparing growth rates of unicells and kairomone-induced colonies of a green alga Desmodesmus subspicatus against a reference co-occurring species. Coloniality negatively affected growth during the initial log growth phase, while no adverse effect was detected under nutrient-limited competitive conditions. The results point to costs associated with traits involved in rapid growth rather than those associated with efficient growth under resource scarcity. Some benefits of coloniality (e.g. defence from herbivory) may be different from when this trait evolved, but our approach shows how costs would have depended on conditions.

URLhttp://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/cgi/doi/10.1098/rspb.2010.1459
DOI10.1098/rspb.2010.1459
Refereed DesignationRefereed

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