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Macro-alga population shows low but significant heterogeneity in developmental instability with no detectable association with individual fitness
Stige, L.C.; Lajus, D.L.; Shoshina, E.V.; Lein, T.E. (2007). Macro-alga population shows low but significant heterogeneity in developmental instability with no detectable association with individual fitness. Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 92(2): 277-286. dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8312.2007.00841.x
In: Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. Academic Press: London. ISSN 0024-4066, more
Peer reviewed article

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Keywords
    Algae; Simulation; Fucus vesiculosus Linnaeus, 1753 [WoRMS]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Stige, L.C.
  • Lajus, D.L.
  • Shoshina, E.V.
  • Lein, T.E.

Abstract
    We studied among-individual variation in developmental instability (DI) and fitness-related parameters in 80 individual plants of Fucus vesiculosus (Phaeophyta). To minimize differential environmental effects, plants were sampled from one environmentally homogenous population. DI was measured as fluctuating asymmetry (FA) of four bilaterally symmetric traits (branch length, receptacle length and width, and bladder width) for an average total of 30 structures per individual. FA levels varied significantly among individual plants, consistent with a coefficient of variation of 0.12 for organism-wide DI or 0.13-0.21 for trait-specific DI. These values are lower than estimates for other organisms, suggesting that the genetic heterogeneity in DI was low. The data provide some evidence for organism-wide DI, but simulations show that organism-wide and trait-specific variation cannot be conclusively separated. Growth rate of branch tips was determined experimentally, demonstrating significant variation among individuals. FA was not significantly correlated with growth rate or with morphological variables associated with fecundity, age, size, and health. At the same time, the signs of all the correlation coefficients were consistent with the expectation of a negative relationship between DI and fitness. The simulations indicated that the correlation between FA and the underlying DI was comparatively strong (high hypothetical repeatability), implying that the lack of significant associations between FA and fitness variables reflected a weak relationship between DI and these fitness parameters. This weak relationship may be related to the low amount of DI variation in the study population.

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