Phenotypic plasticity in two marine snails: constraints superseding life-history
expected, whereas in organisms that cannot predict their future environment,
phenotypic plasticity would be optimal to increase local adaptation. To test this prediction we experimentally compared phenotypic plasticity in two rockyshore snail species; Littorina saxatilis releasing miniature snails on the shore, and Littorina littorea releasing drifting larvae settling on various shores, expecting L. littorea to show more phenotypic plasticity than L. saxatilis. We compared magnitude and direction of vectors of phenotypic difference in juvenile shell traits after 3 months exposure to different stimuli simulating sheltered and crab-rich shores, or wave-exposed and crab-free shores. Both species showed similar direction and magnitude of vectors of phenotypic difference with minor differences only between ecotypes of the nondispersing species, indicating that plasticity is an evolving trait in L. saxatilis. The lack of a strong plastic response in L. littorea might be explained by limits rather than
costs to plasticity.
- dispersal strategy
- grain size
- Littorina littorea
- Littorina saxatilis
- local adaptation
- phenotypic plasticity
- rocky shore.
- ISSN: 1420-9101
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