Marine Biology

, Volume 158, Issue 7, pp 1523–1535 | Cite as

Life-history and demographic spatial variation in Mediterranean populations of the opportunistic polychaete Ophryotrocha labronica (Polychaeta, Dorvilleidae)

  • Gloria Massamba-N’SialaEmail author
  • Roberto Simonini
  • Piero Cossu
  • Ferruccio Maltagliati
  • Alberto Castelli
  • Daniela Prevedelli
Original Paper


The spatial scale of life-history and demographic variation was investigated in the opportunistic polychaete Ophryotrocha labronica La Greca and Bacci. Individuals were collected along the Italian coasts from three thermally different biogeographical regions of the Mediterranean Sea. For each region, populations from four harbours were considered, and for each harbour, two sites were examined. Life-history and demographic traits were investigated after one generation under a common garden experiment, and their variation at the three spatial scales was assessed. All the traits showed high variability with regard to site. A number of life-history and all demographic traits also varied according to the biogeographical region. Conversely, no differences were found between harbours, suggesting that geographical isolation did not contribute to phenotypic variation. Results confirmed the central role of local conditions for the evolution of life history in species colonizing heterogeneous environments, but they also pointed to the importance of large-scale factors in shaping the phenotypic responses of O. labronica, demonstrating the need for a multi-scale approach for obtaining a good measure of natural variation in widespread opportunistic species.


Population Growth Rate Reproductive Event Biogeographical Region Common Garden Experiment Total Fecundity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research was supported by the national PRIN 2005 project (prot. 2005050952), funded by the Ministero dell’Istruzione Università e Ricerca. Thanks are due to the many students and collaborators for their assistance in the field and laboratory activities, especially Francesco Graziosi, Valentina Grandi, Roberto Bellesia and Fabrizio Greco. The authors thank Dr. Katie Henry for English language revision.

Supplementary material

227_2011_1668_MOESM1_ESM.doc (210 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 209 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gloria Massamba-N’Siala
    • 1
    Email author
  • Roberto Simonini
    • 1
  • Piero Cossu
    • 2
  • Ferruccio Maltagliati
    • 2
  • Alberto Castelli
    • 2
  • Daniela Prevedelli
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di BiologiaUniversità di Modena e Reggio EmiliaModenaItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Biologia, Unità di Biologia Marina e EcologiaUniversità di PisaPisaItaly

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