Weitz Group @ Georgia Tech Theoretical Ecology and Quantitative Biology



Analysing threshold effects in the sexual dynamics of cyclically parthenogenetic rotifer populations

TitleAnalysing threshold effects in the sexual dynamics of cyclically parthenogenetic rotifer populations
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsSerra M, Smith HA, Weitz JS, Snell TW
JournalHydrobiologia
Volume662
Start Page121
Pagination121-130
Date Published11/2010
Abstract

Sex in some cyclically parthenogenetic rotifers is triggered when a threshold population density is achieved. In Brachionus, accumulation of a mixis-inducing protein (MIP) that the rotifers excrete into the medium is the proximal signal. Models explicitly accounting for MIP dynamics suggest that either (1) a positive feedback of MIP concentration on MIP production or (2) a switching relationship between the proportion of sexual females and MIP concentration is needed to produce a threshold response of mixis to population density. In order to examine both possibilities, experiments were conducted to estimate the sexual response to a dilution series of medium containing the MIP. The resulting sexual response patterns are consistent with the existence of a threshold response of mixis, but are insufficient to reject one hypothesized mechanism for the threshold response in favor of the other. However, the observed smooth increase of sexual offspring with MIP concentration is consistent with the hypothesis of positive feedback on MIP production, and deserves further investigation.

URLhttp://www.springerlink.com/content/w3k16255275220v0/