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Institut Sophia Agrobiotech

UMR INRA - Univ. Nice Sophia Antipolis - Cnrs

http://www.paca.inra.fr/institut-sophia-agrobiotech_eng/

Habitat fragmentation can have strong evolutionary impact on insect parasitoids

Habitat fragmentation can have strong evolutionary impact on insect parasitoids (TEAPEA Team)

Expansion and intensification of human land use represents the major cause of habitat fragmentation. Such fragmentation can have dramatic consequences on species richness and trophic interactions within food webs.
Using a genetic algorithm*, we quantified how habitat fragmentation and environmental variability affect the optimal reproductive strategies of parasitic wasps foraging for hosts. The model is based on the existence of a negative trade-off between survival and reproduction resulting from competitive allocation of resources to either somatic maintenance or egg production. We also asked to what degree plasticity along this trade-off would be optimal, when plasticity* is costly. We found that habitat fragmentation can indeed have strong effects on the reproductive strategies adopted by parasitoids. With increasing habitat fragmentation animals should invest in greater longevity with lower fecundity.

*Genetic algorithm: Computational analysis based on biological process (as natural selection).

*Phenotypic plasticity: Range of phenotypes linked to one genotype.

 

 

Trade-off between lifespan and egg load describing the main parameters used in the simulation model. The initial reproductive strategy is defined by G1 and each animal has a certain phenotypic plasticity defined by the range G2, but pays a linearly proportional cost for it, both in survival time and egg load.

Trade-off between lifespan and egg load describing the main parameters used in the simulation model. The initial reproductive strategy is defined by G1 and each animal has a certain phenotypic plasticity defined by the range G2, but pays a linearly proportional cost for it, both in survival time and egg load.

  • Wajnberg E., P. Coquillard, L.E.M. Vet & T. Hoffmeister (2012a). Optimal resource allocation to survival and reproduction in parasitic wasps foraging in fragmented habitats.PLoS ONE, 7(6), e38227.