Ontogenetic shift in Daphnia-algae interaction strength altered by stressors: revisiting Jensen’s inequality
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Interaction strength among species plays a crucial role in shaping the functioning of ecological communities, but it is often assumed to be insensitive to inter-individual variation in underlying parameters such as attack rates or handling time. Ecological factors including stressors exert age/size-dependent effects on such behavioral parameters, promoting shifts in the distribution of parameter values over ages. Here we analyze the effects of the pesticide methamidophos on the Daphnia-microalga interaction strength. We first analyze age-dependent effects of the pesticide on the Daphnia functional response, and then decompose the population-level effects of the stressor into contributions of shifts in elevation (i.e., vertical effect) versus shifts in nonlinearity (i.e., nonlinear effect) of the response of interaction strength over consumer age. Our results show that (1) Rogers and Holling type II functional response models best fitted the empirical functional responses of Daphnia of different ages, (2) attack rate and handling time were affected by the pesticide, (3) these effects were age-specific, shifting the average attack rate and both the mean and coefficient of variation of handling time of different age classes, (4) population level interaction strength was affected by pesticide exposure by variation in both elevation and nonlinearity of its response over consumer age. We show that both vertical and nonlinear effects were important in magnitude but opposite in sign. The consequences of factors that exert age/size dependent effects can only be evaluated through properly considering inter-individual variation.
Fondo Nacional de Desarrollo Cientifico y Tecnologico (Ministry of Education, Chile) FONDECYT 1150348 CONICYT Doctoral fellowship (CONICYT-PCHA/Doctorado Nacional) 2015-211521 CONICYT
Artículo de publicación ISI
Quote ItemEcol Res (2016) 31: 811–820
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