EEB Seminar: January 23rd

Stefan Bengtson will talk on

Food quality effects on life history correlations in Daphnia

at 12:30 in the EEB lounge (BioSciences 4338)

Life history theory predicts that correlations among fitness-related life history traits should be negative among individuals within a species, reflecting resource allocation constraints among traits such as growth and reproduction that trade off because they cannot be simultaneously maximized in the face of finite resource acquisition. Positive correlations have been regularly observed, however, and have usually been ascribed to genetic or resource acquisition differences. They can also indicate the presence of a Darwinian demon. Such a demon should, through competition, decrease diversity. In Daphnia, both positive correlations and genetic diversity are abundant. Daphnia are useful study organisms for questions of life history evolution because mechanisms allowing for positive correlations can be controlled. No previous study, however, has controlled all factors that can generate positive genetic correlations. In my Master’s work, I have controlled those factors in co-occurring genotypes and examined whether positive correlations that persist among individuals in the face of resource restriction also persist among genotypes and in different resource environments. Are the mechanisms that cause positive correlations among individuals the same among genotypes? How are those mechanisms affected by a difficult environment? Answers to these questions may help to explain how multiple Daphnia genotypes coexist in the same lake.

Stefan is a chef, soccer player, and Master’s student with Bill Nelson in the Department of Biology at Queen’s University. Stefan holds a minor in Economics and major in Biology and thinks that both fields can learn from each other- after all, ecology and economics share the Greek root eco, meaning house. His academic interests examine how nutrient limitation influence life-history evolution and population dynamics. For his Master’s work, Stefan examined how food quality affects life history trait correlations of multiple coexisting genotypes.

Everyone is welcome to attend
Coffee and treats available at the seminar

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