Advertisement

Oecologia

, Volume 137, Issue 1, pp 85–89 | Cite as

Phenotypic plasticity and interpopulation differences in life history traits of Armadillidium vulgare (Isopoda:Oniscidae)

  • Mark HassallEmail author
  • Alvin Helden
  • Timothy Benton
Population Ecology

Abstract

The hypothesis that the balance of trade-offs between survivorship, growth and reproductive allocation in the terrestrial isopod Armadillidium vulgare will change when resource input is increased has been investigated experimentally. When the quality of food available was increased, by adding a mixture of litter from herbaceous dicotyledonous plants to a background low-quality food of dead grasses, survivorship was found to be the most phenotypically plastic trait, increasing by 168%. Growth rates increased by 99% but reproductive allocation by only 21%. In the field, members of a population from a site with more high-quality food grew more than twice as fast as those from a site where less high-quality food was available. The population from the site with higher food availability, contrary to predictions from the laboratory study, did not survive as well as that from the site with less available high-quality food. This may be because the site that is more favourable for growth has a more stressful physical environment due to much bigger temperature fluctuations, which are known to be an important cause of mortality in this species. When individuals from both populations were reared under controlled laboratory conditions, both the parental and F1 generations from the poor growth environment survived better than those from the good growth habitat. However, even when given an excess of high-quality food those from the poor growth environment continued to grow more slowly and had a lower reproductive allocation than those from the site with higher food availability. We conclude that microevolutionary changes may have occurred in the balance of resource allocation between survivorship, growth and reproductive allocation, to favour higher survivorship during the longer prereproductive period at the site where growth to the threshold size for reproduction takes longer.

Keywords

Life history strategy Trade-off Resource availability Food quality Microevolution 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We are very grateful to: the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and the Norfolk Wildlife Trust for permission to collect woodlice from Spurn Head and Weeting Heath respectively; Jenny Stevenson for assistance with collecting and processing field population samples; and David Oatway for help in analysing the population data. We would like to thank: Alastair Grant for discussing experimental design; Jane Helden, Rachel Lachowycz, Gareth Lee, Heidi Mahon, Ruth Maier and Jenny Stevenson for helping to collect woodlice; Matthew Shardlow, Rufous Kingston, Tim Riley and, in particular, Andrea Kelly for providing so much help with data collection and culture maintenance. We are very grateful to Mark Dangerfield for helpful comments on an earlier draft of the manuscript. The work was supported by NERC Grant GR3/8331 to Mark Hassall and Alastair Grant.

References

  1. Al-Dabbagh KY, Block W (1981) Population ecology of a terrestrial isopod in two Breckland grass heaths. J Anim Ecol 50:61–77Google Scholar
  2. Berven KA, Gill DE, Smith-Gill SJ (1979) Countergradient selection in the green frog, Rano clamitans. Evolution 33:609–623Google Scholar
  3. Brody MS, Edgar MH, Lawlor LR (1983) A cost of reproduction in a terrestrial isopod. Evolution 37:653–655Google Scholar
  4. Bronikowski AM, Arnold SJ (1999) The evolutionary ecology of life history variation in the garter snake Thamnophis elegans. Ecology 80:2314–2325Google Scholar
  5. Chase JM (1999) To grow or to reproduce? The role of life-history plasticity in food web dynamics. Am Nat 154:571–586CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Convey P (1998) Latitudinal variation in allocation to reproduction by the Antarctic oribatid mite, Alaskozetes antarcticus. Appl Soil Ecol 9:93–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Davis RC (1984) Effects of weather and habitat structure on the population dynamics of isopods in a dune grassland. Oikos 42:387–395Google Scholar
  8. Emden HF van (1969) Plant resistance to Myzus persicae induced by a plant regulator and measured by aphid relative growth rate. Entomol Exp Appl 12:125–131Google Scholar
  9. Hassall M (1996) Spatial variation in favourability of a grass heath as a habitat for woodlice (Isopoda: Oniscidea). Pedobiologia 40:514–528Google Scholar
  10. Hassall M, Dangerfield JM (1989) Inter-specific competition and the relative abundance of grassland isopods. Monit Zool Ital 4:379–397Google Scholar
  11. Hassall M, Dangerfield JM (1990) Density-dependent processes in the population dynamics of Armadillidium vulgare (Isopoda: Oniscidae). J Anim Ecol 59:941–958Google Scholar
  12. Hassall M, Dangerfield JM (1997) The population dynamics of a woodlouse, Armadillidium vulgare: an example of biotic compensatory mechanisms amongst terrestrial macrodecomposers? Pedobiologia 41:342–360Google Scholar
  13. Hassall M, Dangerfield JM, Manning TP, Robinson FG (1988) A modified high-gradient extractor for multiple samples of soil macro-arthropods. Pedobiologia 32:21–30Google Scholar
  14. Helden AJ, Hassall M (1998) Phenotypic plasticity in growth and development rates of Armadillidium vulgare (Isopoda: Oniscidea). Isr J Zool 44:379–394Google Scholar
  15. Hubbell SP (1971) Of sowbugs and systems: the ecological bio-energetics of a terrestrial isopod. In: Petten BC (ed.) Systems analysis and simulation in ecology, vol 1. Academic Press, New York, pp 269–324Google Scholar
  16. Jassem W, Juchault P, Souty-Grossnet C, Macquard JP (1991) Male-induced stimulation of the initiation of female reproduction in the terrestrial isopod Armadillidium vulgare Latr. (Crustacea, Oniscidea). Acta Oecol 12:643–653Google Scholar
  17. Jokela J, Haukioja E (2000) Evolution of strategies to stay in the game. Biol Philos 15:177–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lawlor LR (1976) Molting, growth and reproductive strategies in the terrestrial isopod, Armadillidium vulgare. Ecology 57:1179–1194Google Scholar
  19. Lorenzon P, Clobert J, Massot M (2001) The contribution of phenotypic plasticity to adaptation in Lacerta vivipara. Evolution: 55:392–404Google Scholar
  20. Pfister CA (1998) Patterns of variance in stage-structured populations: Evolutionary predictions and ecological implications. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 95:213–218CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Rushton SP, Hassall M (1983) The effects of food quality on the life history parameters of the terrestrial isopod (Armadillidium vulgare (Latreille)). Oecologia 57:257–261Google Scholar
  22. Rushton SP, Hassall M (1987) Effects of food quality on isopod population dynamics. Funct Ecol 1:359–367Google Scholar
  23. Shachak M (1980) Energy allocation and life history strategy of the desert isopod Hemilepistus reaumuri. Oecologia 45:405–413Google Scholar
  24. Sibley RM, Calow P (1986) Physiological ecology of animals: an evolutionary approach. Blackwell, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  25. Smallfuss H (1984) Eco-morphological strategies in terrestrial isopods. In: Sutton SL, Holdich DM (eds) The biology of terrestrial isopods. Zoological Society of London Symposium, vol 53. Clarendon Press, Oxford, pp 49–63Google Scholar
  26. Stearns SC (1992) The evolution of life histories. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  27. Stearns SC (2000) Life history evolution: successes, limitations and prospects. Naturwissenschaften 87:476–486CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Sutton SL, Hassall M, Willows R, Davis RC, Grudy AL, Sunderland KD (1984) Life histories of terrestrial isopods: a study of intra- and inter-specific variation. In: Sutton SL, Holdich DM (eds.) The biology of terrestrial isopods. Zoological Society of London Symposium, vol 53. Clarendon Press, Oxford, pp 269–294Google Scholar
  29. Vago C, Meynadier G, Juchault P, Legrand J-J, Amargier A, Duthoit J-L (1970) Une maladie rickettsienne chez les Crustacés Isopodes. C R Acad Sci Paris 271:2061–2063Google Scholar
  30. Warburg MR (1991) Reproductive patterns in oniscid isopods. In: Juchalt JP, Mocquard P (eds.) Biology of terrestrial isopods. University of Poitiers Press, Poitiers, pp 131–137Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation, School of Environmental SciencesUniversity of East AngliaNorwichEngland
  2. 2.Department of ERM, Faculty of AgricultureUniversity College DublinDublinIreland
  3. 3.Department of Biological and Molecular SciencesUniversity of StirlingStirlingUK

Personalised recommendations