Offspring size in a resident species affects community assembly
Article first published online: 15 OCT 2013
© 2013 The Authors. Journal of Animal Ecology © 2013 British Ecological Society
Journal of Animal Ecology
Volume 83, Issue 2, pages 322–331, March 2014
How to Cite
Davis, K., Marshall, D. J. (2014), Offspring size in a resident species affects community assembly. Journal of Animal Ecology, 83: 322–331. doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12136
- Issue published online: 19 FEB 2014
- Article first published online: 15 OCT 2013
- Accepted manuscript online: 20 AUG 2013 10:30AM EST
- Manuscript Accepted: 9 AUG 2013
- Manuscript Received: 14 APR 2013
- egg size;
- life-history theory;
- maternal effect;
- phenotypic plasticity;
- seed size
- Offspring size is a trait of fundamental importance that affects the ecology and evolution of a range of organisms. Despite the pervasive impact of offspring size for those offspring, the influence of offspring size on other species in the broader community remains unexplored. Such community-wide effects of offspring size are likely, but they have not been anticipated by theory or explored empirically.
- For a marine invertebrate community, we manipulated the size and density of offspring of a resident species (Watersipora subtorquata) in the field and examined subsequent community assembly around that resident species.
- Communities that assembled around larger offspring were denser and less diverse than communities that assembled around smaller offspring. Differences in niche usage by colonies from smaller and larger offspring may be driving these community-level effects.
- Our results suggest that offspring size is an important but unexplored source of ecological variation and that life-history theory must accommodate the effects of offspring size on community assembly. Life-history theory often assumes that environmental variation drives intraspecific variation in offspring size, and our results show that the converse can also occur.