Rotifer population spread in relation to food, density and predation risk in an experimental system
Article first published online: 17 OCT 2011
© 2011 The Authors. Journal of Animal Ecology © 2011 British Ecological Society
Journal of Animal Ecology
Volume 81, Issue 2, pages 323–329, March 2012
How to Cite
Kuefler, D., Avgar, T. and Fryxell, J. M. (2012), Rotifer population spread in relation to food, density and predation risk in an experimental system. Journal of Animal Ecology, 81: 323–329. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2011.01917.x
- Issue published online: 10 FEB 2012
- Article first published online: 17 OCT 2011
- Received 2 May 2011; accepted 3 September 2011 Handling Editor: Kim Cuddington
- animal movement;
- predation risk;
1. Despite the popular use of diffusion models to predict the spatial spread of populations over time, we currently know little about how diffusion rates change with the state of the environment or the internal condition of individuals. To address this gap in our understanding, we measured rates of spread for many populations of the rotifer Brachionus calyciflorus in a suite of well-replicated experiments.
2. In one set of experiments, we manipulated food availability and population density along a continuous range of densities. In a second set, we manipulated the internal state of entire populations via food deprivation and exposure to predator kairomones.
3. Across replicate populations, diffusion rates were positively correlated with conspecific density. Diffusion rates were negatively correlated with food availability, especially when conspecific density was high. Diffusion rates of food-deprived populations or those exposed to predation risk were lower than controls.
4. Our results provide direct experimental evidence that rates of population spread are conditional on population density, food availability, body condition and predation risk.