BALSEIRO esteban Gabriel
Shifts in food quality for herbivorous consumer growth: multiple golden means in the life history.
BULLEJOS, F.; CARRILLO, P.; GOROKHOVA, E.; MEDINA-SANCHEZ, J.M.; BALSEIRO, E.G; VILLAR-ARGAIZ, M.
ECOLOGICAL SOC AMER
Año: 2014 vol. 95 p. 1272 - 1284
Consumer growth can be affected by imbalances between the nutrient content of the consumer and its food resource. Although ontogenetic-driven changes in animal composition are well-documented, their potential consequences for organism?s sensitivity to food quality constraints have remained elusive. Here we show that the potential growth response of the copepod Mixodiaptomus laciniatus (as %RNA and RNA:DNA ratio) to the natural gradient of seston carbon (C):nutrient ratio is unimodal and stage-specific. Solution of the equation given by the first derivative function provided the optimum C:nutrient ratio for maximum stage-specific growth, which increased during ontogeny. The peakedness of the function indicated that animal vulnerability to suboptimal food quality decreased as juveniles reached adulthood. Consistent with these results, a field-experiment demonstrated that potential consumer growth responded to variations in seston C:phosphorus ratio and that early-life stages were particularly vulnerable to suboptimal food quality.