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Exploring the phenotypic plasticity of standard metabolic rate and its inter-individual consistency in the hermit crab Calcinus californiensis
Alcaraz, G.; Kruesi, K. (2012). Exploring the phenotypic plasticity of standard metabolic rate and its inter-individual consistency in the hermit crab Calcinus californiensis. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 412: 20-26. https://hdl.handle.net/10.1016/j.jembe.2011.10.014
In: Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. Elsevier: New York. ISSN 0022-0981; e-ISSN 1879-1697, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Calcinus californiensis Bouvier, 1898 [WoRMS]
    Marine
Author keywords
    hermit crab, interindividual variation, metabolic consistency, plasticity, repeatability, standard metabolic rate

Authors  Top 
  • Alcaraz, G.
  • Kruesi, K.

Abstract
    The standard metabolic rate (SMR) is a central aspect in bioenergetics closely related to fitness, where consistent differences in the SMR may account for differences in an individual's performance. The SMR can be a plastic trait, where the metabolic depression can be advantageous under unfavourable conditions. The SMR of the hermit crab Calcinus californiensis occupying intact and broken shells in the wild were compared. Subsequently, a shell-swapping experiment and repeated measures test of the SMR of crabs occupying both types of shells were made to test if differences in the SMR were a consequence of the shell occupied (plasticity) or a result of an intrinsic variation between individuals (consistency). Crabs occupying broken shells had a lower metabolism than those in intact shells. The gradual recovery of the SMR of the crabs swapped to broken shells to similar metabolic levels of those of crabs tested in intact shells suggests that though the use of a broken shell can be disadvantageous in the wild, broken shells might produce a more benign situation under laboratory conditions. The depression of the SMR may act as an adaptive response to cope with the disadvantages caused by broken shells in a challenging environment. The SMR showed individual consistency, suggesting that it may play an important role as an adaptive trait.

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