The physiological costs of prey switching reinforce foraging specialization

Hooker, O. E., Van Leeuwen, T. E. and Adams, C. E. (2017) The physiological costs of prey switching reinforce foraging specialization. Journal of Animal Ecology, 86(3), pp. 605-614. (doi:10.1111/1365-2656.12632) (PMID:28075009)

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Abstract

1. Sympatric speciation is thought to be strongly linked to resource specialization with alternative resource use acting as a fundamental agent driving divergence. However, sympatric speciation through niche expansion is dependent on foraging specialization being consistent over space and time. 2. Standard metabolic rate is the minimal maintenance metabolic rate of an ectotherm in a post-absorptive and inactive state and can constitute a significant portion of an animal's energy budget; thus, standard metabolic rate and growth rate are two measures frequently used as an indication of the physiological performance of individuals. Physiological adaptations to a specific diet may increase the efficiency with which it is utilized, but may have an increased cost associated with switching diets, which may result in a reduced standard metabolic rate and growth rate. 3. In this study, we use the diet specialization often seen in polymorphic Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus) populations to study the effects of different prey on standard metabolic rate and growth rate as well as the effects that early prey specialization may have on the ability to process other prey types efficiently. 4. We found a significant effect of prey type on standard metabolic rate and growth rate. Furthermore, we found evidence of diet specialization with all fish maintaining a standard metabolic rate and growth rate lower than expected when fed on a diet different to which they were raised, possibly due to a maladaptation in digestion of alternative prey items. 5. Our results show that early diet specialization may be reinforced by the elevated costs of prey switching, thus promoting the process of resource specialization during the incipient stages of sympatric divergence.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was supported by funding from the European Union's INTERREG IVA Programme (project 2859 ‘IBIS’) managed by the Special EU programmes body.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Van Leeuwen, Dr Travis and Adams, Professor Colin
Authors: Hooker, O. E., Van Leeuwen, T. E., and Adams, C. E.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Journal of Animal Ecology
Publisher:Wiley
ISSN:0021-8790
ISSN (Online):1365-2656
Published Online:11 January 2017

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