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Divergence in trophic ecology characterizes colonization of extreme habitats


Tobler, M (2008). Divergence in trophic ecology characterizes colonization of extreme habitats. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 95(3):517-528.

Abstract

Extreme habitats are characterized by the presence of physio-chemical stressors, but also differ in aspects of the biotic environment, such as resource availability or the presence of competitors. The present study quantifies variation in trophic ecology of a small livebearing fish (Poecilia mexicana, Poeciliidae) across four different habitats that included nonsulphidic and sulphidic surface waters, as well as a nonsulphidic and a sulphidic cave. esource use in different habitat types was investigated using gut content analysis. Populations diverged in resource use from a diet dominated by algae and detritus in nonsulfidic surface habitats to a diet including invertebrate food items in the other habitats. Poecilia mexicana in cave habitats further exhibited a higher dietary niche width than conspecifics from surface habitats. The condition of P. mexicana was analysed using storage lipid extractions. Fish from sulphidic and cave habitats exhibited a very poor condition,
suggesting resource limitation and/or high costs of coping with extreme conditions. Finally, divergence in resource use was correlated with variation in viscerocranial morphology. A common garden experiment indicated both a genetic and plastic basis to the morphological
variation observed among field populations. It is suggested that the morphological diversification is an adaptation to the differential use of resources among populations.

Abstract

Extreme habitats are characterized by the presence of physio-chemical stressors, but also differ in aspects of the biotic environment, such as resource availability or the presence of competitors. The present study quantifies variation in trophic ecology of a small livebearing fish (Poecilia mexicana, Poeciliidae) across four different habitats that included nonsulphidic and sulphidic surface waters, as well as a nonsulphidic and a sulphidic cave. esource use in different habitat types was investigated using gut content analysis. Populations diverged in resource use from a diet dominated by algae and detritus in nonsulfidic surface habitats to a diet including invertebrate food items in the other habitats. Poecilia mexicana in cave habitats further exhibited a higher dietary niche width than conspecifics from surface habitats. The condition of P. mexicana was analysed using storage lipid extractions. Fish from sulphidic and cave habitats exhibited a very poor condition,
suggesting resource limitation and/or high costs of coping with extreme conditions. Finally, divergence in resource use was correlated with variation in viscerocranial morphology. A common garden experiment indicated both a genetic and plastic basis to the morphological
variation observed among field populations. It is suggested that the morphological diversification is an adaptation to the differential use of resources among populations.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Zoology (former)
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:cave fish, Cueva del Azufre, dietary niche width, eco-morphology, ecological diversification, fat content, gut content analysis, hydrogen sulphide, phenotypic, plasticity, Poecilia, mexicana (Poeciliidae)
Language:English
Date:2008
Deposited On:01 Dec 2008 14:05
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:33
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0024-4066
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8312.2008.01063.x

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