2014. július 15., kedd

Tököly et al. (2014) Ecological Research

Clonally reproducing animals, such as freshwater hydra, can achieve very quick population growth, potentially resulting in high density when dispersal is limited. The reproductive value of any offspring produced clonally in such a high density population is low because of the strong competition for food. Therefore, animals experiencing such conditions should allocate their resources to self-maintenance, to increase survival chances. Increased allocation to self-maintenance in turn should enable animals to withstand higher levels of genotoxic stress. To test this prediction, we exposed green hydra (Hydra viridissima Pallas 1766) to a perceived high density (by keeping them in crowded culture medium) or low density (fresh culture medium) without altering food availability. We also manipulated nutritional status (by starving animals for different time periods) and previous exposure to mild stress in a full factorial experimental design. At the end of the experiment we exposed animals to a high concentration of hydrogen-peroxide and scored stress tolerance. We found that stress tolerance is greatly elevated in animals perceiving high density, confirming our prediction. Stress tolerance decreased in animals starved for a few days, suggesting that the ability to maintain an elevated stress tolerance function has nutritional costs and is possible only when resource availability is high. On the other hand, previous exposure to mild stress had a small effect on the ability to tolerate subsequent exposure to stress, and only in the low density treatment group. Thus, stress tolerance in hydra is dynamically modulated in response to social, environmental and nutritional cues.

Asexual reproduction, Density dependence, Somatic maintenance, Life-history evolution, Oxidative stress

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