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Effects of food quality on isopod population dynamics

Effects of food quality on isopod population dynamics

Functional Ecology 1(4): 359-368

1 Growth and survival of juvenile Armadillidium vulgare (Latrielle) in the laboratory were greatest on a diet of an excess of freshly fallen leaves from dicotyledonous plants but decreased with decreasing supply of this food, even though alternative lower quality foods were provided in excess. Growth in the laboratory was positively related to temperature but mortality was not clearly related to temperature over the range observed in the field. 2 Growth and survivorship of a field population on a Breckland grass heath are described for a 2-year period during which density declined from 673m-2 to 102m-2. The demand for high-quality food by the field population peaked during a period of rapid growth in spring and early summer when supply of leaf litter from dicotyledonous plants was at a minimum. Litter production peaked in autumn after isopods had finished breeding and when low temperatures reduced their consumption rates. 3 Competition for high-quality food in spring and early summer during this period could have reduced growth and survivorship sufficiently to account for the observed decline in population density. 4 A stimulation model, based on laboratory observations, closely predicted the observed decline in the field population. Further simulations also predicted the higher population densities observed in the field before this study and also the lower equilibrium densities found on the site since the study.

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Accession: 001580933

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DOI: 10.2307/2389792

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