Evol Ecol Res 8: 1409-1425 (2006) Full PDF if your library subscribes.
Modelling the energy–mortality trade-offs of invertebrate decorating behaviour
Sarah K. Berke,1* Matthew Miller2 and Sarah A. Woodin1
1Department of Biological Sciences and 2Department of Mathematics, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA
Address all correspondence to Sarah K. Berke, Department of Biological Sciences, University of South Carolina, 701 Sumter Street, Columbia, SC 29208, USA.
Background: Animals belonging to nearly 25% of the major metazoan phyla ‘decorate’ themselves with foreign material. Decoration occurs frequently in some taxa but infrequently in others. Some data indicate that decoration is a morphologically flexible phenotype that facilitates feeding and/or protects against biotic and abiotic forces. Yet decoration is not taxonomically ubiquitous. Other data suggest that decorating could be energetically costly.
Questions: How do feeding, energy expenditure, and mortality risk interact to exert selective pressure on decorating phenotypes? Could energetic costs associated with decorating theoretically limit the behaviour’s selective advantage and account for its patchy taxonomic distribution?
Methods: Build a model of decoration’s effect on reproductive potential using energy intake, energy expenditure, and mortality risk as parameters. Analytically find the upper bound of permissible energetic costs. From existing literature, estimate parameter values for energetics, reproduction, and mortality of the green sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis, and analyse them using graphical and numerical methods to determine the probable influence of energy cost on decoration in this animal.
Conclusions: Physiologically realistic energetic costs can constrain the parameter space in which decorating is selectively advantageous. This appears to be true even for costs far below the theoretical upper limit. Thus the evolution of decoration should be more sensitive to energetic costs than to the other parameters that we modelled. Sensitivity to energetic costs may explain (at least in part) decoration’s patchy taxonomic distribution.
Keywords: camouflage, covering, defence, ornamentation, masking, predation, reproductive potential, selection.
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