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Eutrophication Essay

2572 words - 11 pages

Oecologia (2004) 140: 302–311
DOI 10.1007/s00442-004-1574-7


Anne Hemmi . Veijo Jormalainen

Genetic and environmental variation in performance of a marine
isopod: effects of eutrophication

Received: 5 March 2004 / Accepted: 25 March 2004 / Published online: 14 May 2004
# Springer-Verlag 2004

Abstract Environmental variation in food resources
modifies performance of herbivores, in addition to genetic
variation and maternal effects. In marine benthic habitats,
eutrophication may modify herbivores’ diets by changing
host species composition or nutritional quality of algae for
herbivores. We studied experimentally the effects of diet
...view middle of the document...

Instead, maternal effects on size were
substantial, suggesting that differences among mothers in
their egg-provisioning ability strongly affect weight gain
of their offspring. A high amount of additive genetic
variance in intermolt duration implies potential for quick
evolutionary responses in the growth schedule in the face
of changes in the selective environment. We conclude that
eutrophication, in addition to improving growth and
A. Hemmi (*) . V. Jormalainen
Section of Ecology, Department of Biology, University of
20014 Turku, Finland
Fax: +358-2-3336550

reproduction of I. baltica by enhancing food quality and
by providing opportunity for broader, more profitable
diets, may act as a selective agent on life-history traits.
Eutrophication of coastal waters is thus likely to reflect in
herbivore density, population dynamics and eventually,
grazing pressure of littoral macroalgae.
Keywords Idotea baltica . Fucus vesiculosus . Pilayella
littoralis . Maternal effects . Heritability

Variation in herbivore performance arises as a combination
of environmental and genetic effects. In addition to direct
environmental effects and heritable additive genetic variation, environment and genes may produce transgenerational variation through “maternal effects” (Mousseau and
Fox 1998). Although these different sources of variation
act in concert in affecting both population dynamics and
adaptive character evolution (Mousseau and Dingle 1991;
Rossiter 1994, 1996), the contributions of different sources
of variation to herbivore performance have very rarely
been evaluated in the same plant-herbivore system and
never in aquatic environments.
Eutrophication may generate environmental variation in
performance of aquatic herbivores through two different
mechanisms: by directly affecting nutritive quality of host
plants and by modifying feeding patterns through changes
in the availability of host species. First, the quality of plant
for herbivores often varies with environmental conditions,
for example nutrient or light availability (Bryant et al.
1983; Herms and Mattson 1992). Increased nutrient
concentrations in the growing environment may thus
either improve the nutritive value and/or diminish the
amounts of deterrent secondary chemicals in plants. Such
qualitative changes in food plants has been demonstrated
in terrestrial systems (Wilkens et al. 1996; Koricheva et al.
1998; McKinnon et al. 1998; Coomes and Grubb 2000;
Mutikainen et al. 2000; King et al. 2001; but see Nitao et
al. 2002) as well as in a variety of marine brown algae


(e.g., Yates and Peckol 1993; Ilvessalo and Tuomi 1989;
Arnold et al. 1995; Cronin and Hay 1996; Van Alstyne and
Pelletreau 2000; Hemmi et al. 2004; but see Pfister and
Van Alstyne 2003). Furthermore, increased nutrient levels
in the water column have been shown to affect positively
the performance of marine isopod...

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