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The influence of predator regime on reproductive traits in Gammarus pulex populations

  • Kajsa Åbjörnsson
  • Christer Brönmark
  • Lars-Anders Hansson
Publishing year: 2009
Language: English
Pages: 215-225
Publication/Series: Hydrobiologia
Volume: 635
Issue: 1
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Springer

Abstract english

Selection on traits conferring reduced predation may be opposed by selection on other traits associated with reproduction. Here, we examined the hypothesis that traits associated with reproduction in Gammarus pulex are driven by predation. We studied G. pulex originating from ponds with two different kinds of predator regimes: (1) ponds with fish-often large, non-gap-limited predators and (2) ponds without fish where invertebrates are the dominant predators-often small, gap-limited predators with a much more restricted prey size range. We examined the body size of males and females in G. pulex amplexus pairs originating from fish and fishless ponds. We also examined, in the laboratory, their mating success, the number of offspring per female and offspring mortality under different rearing conditions, with or without fish cue. Mating success, defined as the percentage of amplexus pairs that produced live offspring, was higher for G. pulex from fishless ponds independent of rearing condition. Individuals from fish ponds were larger and they produced a higher number of offspring which tended to be related to female body size. Offspring mortality was higher in populations from fish ponds compared to populations from fishless ponds. Despite the higher offspring mortality, females from fish ponds had a higher number of offspring alive after 13 weeks, which is the approximate time it takes for G. pulex to reach maturity. Our data imply that no trade-off between reducing body size to reduce mortality caused by fish and maximising reproductive success exist in G. pulex from fish ponds. The strategy with many offspring may be the correct strategy in fishponds where predation pressure generally is higher than in fishless ponds.


  • Ecology
  • Predator regime
  • Reproduction
  • Gammarus pulex
  • Fish
  • Life history


  • ISSN: 0018-8158
Lars-Anders Hansson
E-mail: lars-anders [dot] hansson [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se


Aquatic ecology

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Aquatic Ecology

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Doctoral students and postdocs

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