Responses to conspecific density in an arborescent bryozoan

Gooley, Toby A., Marshall, Dustin J. and Monro, Keyne (2010) Responses to conspecific density in an arborescent bryozoan. Marine Ecology-Progress Series, 415 83-90. doi:10.3354/meps08757

Author Gooley, Toby A.
Marshall, Dustin J.
Monro, Keyne
Title Responses to conspecific density in an arborescent bryozoan
Journal name Marine Ecology-Progress Series   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0171-8630
Publication date 2010
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.3354/meps08757
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 415
Start page 83
End page 90
Total pages 8
Editor Otto Kinne
Place of publication Oldendorf, Germany
Publisher Inter-Research Science Centre
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Sessile colonial invertebrates that must tolerate environmental variation without the luxury of mobility may be expected to cope with such variation through phenotypic plasticity. While plastic responses to a range of biotic factors (e.g. predation) are increasingly documented, the details of responses to competition (mediated by the densities of conspecifics or heterospecifics vying for the same resources) remain unclear, despite a rich literature for terrestrial plants on which to draw. We examined phenotypic responses to conspecific density in a colonial invertebrate (the arborescent bryozoan, Bugula neritina) under field conditions. We found that colonies at higher densities were generally less fecund, lower in biomass and more elongate than those growing virtually alone. We also found such responses to vary only subtly with the life history stage of neighbours, with colonies exposed to higher densities of contemporary recruits achieving elongation via increased budding between bifurcation points and the elongation of individual zooids, while colonies exposed to established adults achieved elongation via increased budding only. These responses are broadly consistent with those of terrestrial plants competing for light and are probably due to the combined effects of resource limitation and altered flow in high density stands. Future studies are needed to disentangle these effects and the extent to which such responses to density in branching colonial invertebrates are a passive result of food limitation, or reflect active (and potentially adaptive) plasticity to other aspects of the local density environment.
© Inter-Research 2010.
Keyword Branching
Colony form
Foraging behaviour
Intraspecific competition plasticity
Life history
Phenotypic plasticity
Marube bryozoan
Intraspecific competitiona
Colonial invertebrate
Population dynamics
Shade tolerance
Clonal plant
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 4 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 28 Nov 2010, 00:02:32 EST