Navigation Links
Studies of small water fleas help ecologists understand population dynamics
Date:10/30/2008

(Santa Barbara, Calif.) A study of populations of tiny water fleas is helping ecologists to understand population dynamics, which may lead to predictions about the ecological consequences of environmental change.

The study is published in today's issue of the journal Nature. The water flea, called Daphnia, plays a key role in the food web of many lakes.

Co-author Roger Nisbet, an ecologist based at the University of California, Santa Barbara, explained that a few animal populations, notably some insects, show huge "boom and bust" cycles. The populations alternate between periods of explosive growth when food is plentiful, followed by crashes when food is replaced too slowly to support the resulting large population.

This behavior is well understood by ecologists, and has been described by many simple mathematical models. However, most animal populations don't behave in this extreme way. "A key question is why," said Nisbet.

To answer the question, Nisbet and his two Canadian co-authors took a three-pronged approach that required synthesizing evidence from field observations, experiments, and mathematical models. The theoretical foundation for this latest study was a mathematical theory developed several years ago by Nisbet and collaborators.

The new insight came by using this theory to help interpret the results of experiments by first author Edward McCauley, an ecologist at the University of Calgary.

McCauley was able to study the performance of individual water fleas within lab populations. Some of these were executing boom and bust cycles; others were not. This second group of populations exhibited what the investigators called "small amplitude" cycles.

A key prediction of the theory, worked out through some innovative mathematical work by Bill Nelson, co-author from Queens University in Ontario, was that in the small amplitude cycles, individual animals would take much longer to develop to reproductive maturity. This was confirmed by the new experiments.

"More broadly, the work illustrates that ecologists at UCSB and elsewhere are getting a deeper understanding of how the physiological response of organisms to a changing environment food availability, in these experiments is eventually expressed as population change," said Nisbet.

The researchers hope that the processes involved are general, and that the improved understanding of population dynamics will improve their ability to predict the ecological consequences of environmental change.


'/>"/>

Contact: Gail Gallessich
gail.g@ia.ucsb.edu
805-893-7220
University of California - Santa Barbara
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Claims of sex-related differences in genetic association studies often not properly validated
2. Genes, Environment and Health Initiative invests in genetic studies, environmental monitoring
3. NIH awards researcher $1.5 million new innovator grant for fruit-fly studies of prion proteins
4. Studies: Children obese due to a host of unhealthy pressures
5. Clinical studies show REMICADE reduces incidence of bowel surgeries in ulcerative colitis patients
6. LSU professor studies army-ant-following birds
7. 2 carotid artery stenting studies show results comparable to AHA guidelines
8. NIH grants enable energy studies
9. New studies on schizophrenia, depression, trauma and autism highlight annual meeting
10. Experts from Stevens, Merck, publish joint paper, Biosynthetic Studies of Platensimycin
11. New studies suggest brain overgrowth in 1-year-olds linked to development of autism
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/12/2016)... 12, 2016  Researchers at Trinity College, Dublin, ... by combining the material with Silly Putty. The mixture ... detector able to sense pulse, blood pressure, respiration, ... The research team,s findings were ... here:  http://science.sciencemag.org/content/354/6317/1257 ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... 2016  Singulex, Inc., the leader in Next Generation ... a license and supply agreement with Thermo Fisher Scientific, ... Singulex access to Thermo Scientific BRAHMS PCT (Procalcitonin), a ... used to diagnose systemic bacterial infection and sepsis and ... aid in assessing the risk of critically ill patients ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... TEL AVIV, Israel , December 7, 2016 ... year with the expansion of its patent portfolio, which grew to over ... , , ... led by its recently filed patent entitled " System, Device, ... which covers technology that enables device makers to forego costly hardware components ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... January 18, 2017 , ... The American Medical Informatics Association ... Data Sharing Policy. Specifically, the nation’s leading informatics experts, said data sharing plans ... policy. AMIA recommended that NIH earmark funding for researchers to produce and execute ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... Island, NY (PRWEB) , ... January 19, 2017 , ... ... at an exponential rate. The tremendous growth is accounted to two main factors. ... the table and the expanding network of vendors supplying FireflySci products all around the ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... YORK , Jan. 18, 2017 ... to reach USD 92.9 billion by 2025, according ... Inc. Pharmaceutical industry has been adaptive of the ... as early as 2002. Among the services outsourced, ... forerunners. For instance, Johnson & Johnson was the ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... PLAINVIEW, N.Y. , Jan. 18, 2017 ... pathology services, announces the formation of an Executive Committee ... 2017 and beyond. John Cucci , ... been promoted from Director of Business Development to ... in 2015, Mr. Cucci served in senior sales leadership ...
Breaking Biology Technology: