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:3/28/2017)... , March 28, 2017 The ... Hardware (Camera, Monitors, Servers, Storage Devices), Software (Video Analytics, ... Region - Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, ... 2016 and is projected to reach USD 75.64 Billion ... and 2022. The base year considered for the study ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... 24, 2017 The Controller General of Immigration from ... Abdulla Algeen have received the prestigious international IAIR Award for the ... Continue Reading ... ... Controller Abdulla Algeen (small picture on the right) have received the IAIR ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... The report "Gesture Recognition and Touchless Sensing Market by Technology (Touch-based ... to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to be worth USD ... 2022. Continue Reading ... ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... and LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. , Oct. ... Cancer Research, London (ICR) and University ... SKY92, SkylineDx,s prognostic tool to risk-stratify patients with multiple myeloma ... MUK nine . The University of Leeds ... partly funded by Myeloma UK, and ICR will perform the ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... 2017 , ... San Diego-based team building and cooking events company, Lajollacooks4u, has ... The bold new look is part of a transformation to increase awareness, appeal to ... period. , It will also expand its service offering from its signature gourmet cooking ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... 10, 2017 International research firm Parks Associates announced ... at the TMA 2017 Annual Meeting , October 11 in ... residential home security market and how smart safety and security products impact ... Parks Associates: Smart Home ... "The residential security market has ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... DIEGO , Oct. 9, 2017  BioTech ... biological mechanism by which its ProCell stem cell ... critical limb ischemia.  The Company, demonstrated that treatment ... amount of limbs saved as compared to standard ... the molecule HGF resulted in reduction of therapeutic ...
Breaking Biology Technology: