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Variation in growth and consumption among individuals and populations of dogwhelks, Nucella lapillus: A link between foraging behaviour and fitness
Burrows, M.T.; Hughes, R.N. (1990). Variation in growth and consumption among individuals and populations of dogwhelks, Nucella lapillus: A link between foraging behaviour and fitness. J. Anim. Ecol. 59(2): 723-742
In: Journal of Animal Ecology. Blackwell Science/British Ecological Society: Oxford. ISSN 0021-8790, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Body size; Food composition; Foraging behaviour; Growth rate; Nucella lapillus (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Burrows, M.T.
  • Hughes, R.N., more

Abstract
    1) Body mass and consumption explained between 15% and 24% of observed variance in production, defined as the combined energetic value of shell and body growth, among individual dogwhelks, Nucella lapillus (L.), in laboratory and field conditions. (2) In a laboratory experiment, dogwhelks showed most shell growth on a diet of large barnacles, Semibalanus balanoides (L.), and the highest rates of consumption on a diet of large mussels, Mytilus edulis L. (3) Consumption and growth rates (J snail-1 day-1) of naturally foraging dogwhelks were greater at an exposed, mussel-dominated site than at a sheltered, barnacle-dominated site. (4) Sheltered-shore morphs grew faster than exposed shore morphs, both at their native, sheltered site and when transplanted to the exposed site. (5) Shell growth was positively associated with shell mass in sub-adult dogwhelks with an actively growing shell lip, whereas body growth was negatively associated with body mass. Consumption was allometrically related to body mass. Statistical removal of these trends revealed no significant differences in size-specific shell growth between morphs, but there remained differences in shell growth between sites and in consumption and body growth between sites and morphs. (6) If growth is an acceptable surrogate for fitness, those animals which maximize consumption also appear to maximize fitness. Thus, the energy maximization premise which underlies optimal foraging theory, does appear to apply in a complex natural situation.

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