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Effect of cloning rate on fitness-related traits in two marine hydroids
Ponczek, L.M.; Blackstone, N.W. (2001). Effect of cloning rate on fitness-related traits in two marine hydroids. Biol. Bull. 201: 76-83
In: Biological Bulletin. Marine Biological Laboratory: Lancaster. ISSN 0006-3185, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Ponczek, L.M.
  • Blackstone, N.W.

    Hydractinia symbiolongicarpus and Podocoryna carnea are colonial marine hydroids capable of reproducing both sexually and asexually. Asexual reproduction, by colony fragmentation, produces a genetic clone of the parent colony. This study examines the effect of very different cloning rates on colony growth rate, oxygen uptake rate, and colony morphology. Colonies of one clone of each species were maintained for an extended time in two treatments: in a state of constant vegetative growth by repeated cloning, and in a state restricted from vegetative growth (no cloning). For both species, tissue explants taken from the growing colonies grew more slowly than similar explants taken from the restricted colonies. For one species, tissue explants from the growing colonies used oxygen at a higher rate than similar explants from restricted colonies; for the other species, no difference was detected, although the sample size was small. For both species, tissue explants from restricted colonies formed more circular, “sheet-like” shapes, whereas those from their growing counterparts formed more irregular, “runner-like” shapes. After these experiments, in the third winter of treatment, all colonies experienced a severe tissue regression. Within 6 months after this event, the colonies had regrown to their former sizes. A growth assay at this point revealed no difference in growth rate, possibly suggesting an epigenetic basis for these results. Changes in clonal growth rates and morphology correlated with variation in fragmentation rate might affect the ecology of these and other clonal organisms.

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