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Evolutionary Ecology

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 545–559 | Cite as

Geographical divergence in host use ability of a marine herbivore in alga–grazer interaction

  • Veijo Jormalainen
  • Tuija Honkanen
  • Outi Vesakoski
Original Paper

Abstract

When the selective environment differs geographically, local herbivore populations may diverge in their host use ability and adapt locally to exploit the sympatric host population. We tested whether populations of the marine generalist herbivore Idotea baltica have diverged in host us ability and whether they locally adapted to exploit the sympatric population of their main host species, the bladderwrack Fucus vesiculosus. We fed isopods from three local populations reciprocally with the sympatric and two allopatric populations of the host. The bladderwrack populations varied in their quality as food for isopods suggesting variation in the selective environment. The ability to exploit the main host showed considerable divergence among the isopod populations. There was no significant interaction between host and isopod origin, indicating that the patterns observed in the reciprocal feeding experiment could be explained by differences in overall suitability of the hosts and differences in overall performance of the isopod populations. Isopod population that was sympatric to a bladderwrack population with low phlorotannin content showed high performance on the algae from the sympatric but low performance on the algae from the two allopatric populations. Performance of isopods, especially in this population, decreased quickly with the increasing phlorotannin content of food algae. We therefore hypothesize that the isopods adapted to a low phlorotannin content were unable to utilize high-phlorotannin algae efficiently. Isopod populations sympatric to the high-phlorotannin bladderwrack populations may be generally better adapted to deal with phlorotannins, being thereby able to utilize a range of bladderwrack populations.

Keywords

Evolutionary divergence Local adaptation Herbivory Selective mosaic Phlorotannins 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to Janne Eränen, Meri Lindqvist and Simo Rintakoski for help in the experiment, Riitta Koivikko and Krista Tulonen for chemical analyses, Fiia Haavisto for preparing the map, and the Archipelago Research Institute (University of Turku) for facilities. This research was financed by the Academy of Finland (Project 53832, BIREME) and the Wihuri Foundation (TH).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Veijo Jormalainen
    • 1
  • Tuija Honkanen
    • 1
  • Outi Vesakoski
    • 1
  1. 1.Section of Ecology, Department of BiologyUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland

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