Evol Ecol Res 8: 553-559 (2006)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Inducible plasticity: optimal waiting time for the development of an inducible phenotype

Kinya Nishimura*

Graduate School of Fisheries Sciences, Hokkaido University, Hakodate 041-8611, Japan

e-mail: kinya@fish.hokudai.ac.jp


Question: How does an organism that possesses inducible plasticity determine waiting time before the development of a secondary phenotype after changing to the secondary environment, in which the inducible secondary phenotype is suitable?

Model: Maximization of the fitness currency, the survival possibility times the expected amount of remaining energy at terminal time, with respect to waiting time before development of a secondary phenotype.

Key assumptions: If the individual develops the inducible secondary phenotype in the secondary environment, death rate is reduced. The development and maintenance of the inducible phenotype incurs a cost.

Results: The optimal waiting time should be longer under the following conditions: when the inducible phenotype has low effectiveness in improving the survival rate of an organism exposed to the secondary environment; when the cost of development of the secondary phenotype is high; when the time delay required to develop the phenotype is short; or when the total energy that an organism possesses initially is low and fitness will be evaluated far in the future.

Keywords: cost, delay time, inducible defences, inducible plasticity, waiting time.

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