Document Detail

Jack-of-all-trades: phenotypic plasticity facilitates the invasion of an alien slug species.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23015630     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Invasive alien species might benefit from phenotypic plasticity by being able to (i) maintain fitness in stressful environments ('robust'), (ii) increase fitness in favourable environments ('opportunistic'), or (iii) combine both abilities ('robust and opportunistic'). Here, we applied this framework, for the first time, to an animal, the invasive slug, Arion lusitanicus, and tested (i) whether it has a more adaptive phenotypic plasticity compared with a congeneric native slug, Arion fuscus, and (ii) whether it is robust, opportunistic or both. During one year, we exposed specimens of both species to a range of temperatures along an altitudinal gradient (700-2400 m a.s.l.) and to high and low food levels, and we compared the responsiveness of two fitness traits: survival and egg production. During summer, the invasive species had a more adaptive phenotypic plasticity, and at high temperatures and low food levels, it survived better and produced more eggs than A. fuscus, representing the robust phenotype. During winter, A. lusitanicus displayed a less adaptive phenotype than A. fuscus. We show that the framework developed for plants is also very useful for a better mechanistic understanding of animal invasions. Warmer summers and milder winters might lead to an expansion of this invasive species to higher altitudes and enhance its spread in the lowlands, supporting the concern that global climate change will increase biological invasions.
Eva Knop; Nik Reusser
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2012-09-26
Journal Detail:
Title:  Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society     Volume:  279     ISSN:  1471-2954     ISO Abbreviation:  Proc. Biol. Sci.     Publication Date:  2012 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-10-15     Completed Date:  2013-03-18     Revised Date:  2013-12-04    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101245157     Medline TA:  Proc Biol Sci     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  4668-76     Citation Subset:  IM    
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MeSH Terms
Adaptation, Physiological*
Gastropoda / physiology*
Global Warming
Introduced Species*
Models, Biological

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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