An experimental test of the growth rate hypothesis as a predictive framework for microevolutionary adaptation

Kimberley D. Lemmen*, Libin Zhou, Spiros Papakostas, Steven A.J. Declerck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The growth rate hypothesis (GRH) posits that the relative body phosphorus content of an organism is positively related to somatic growth rate, as protein synthesis, which is necessary for growth, requires P-rich rRNA. This hypothesis has strong support at the interspecific level. Here, we explore the use of the GRH to predict microevolutionary responses in consumer body stoichiometry. For this, we subjected populations of the rotifer Brachionus calyciflorus to selection for fast population growth rate (PGR) in P-rich (HPF) and P-poor (LPF) food environments. With common garden transplant experiments, we demonstrate that in HP populations evolution toward increased PGR was concomitant with an increase in relative phosphorus content. In contrast, LP populations evolved higher PGR without an increase in relative phosphorus content. We conclude that the GRH has the potential to predict microevolutionary change, but that its application is contingent on the environmental context. Our results highlight the potential of cryptic evolution in determining the performance response of populations to elemental limitation of their food resources.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere3853
JournalEcology
Volume104
Issue number1
Early online date2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

Keywords

  • Brachionus calyciflorus
  • contemporary evolution
  • ecological stoichiometry
  • experimental evolution
  • intraspecific genetic variation
  • phosphorus limitation
  • rapid adaptation
  • rotifera
  • zooplankton

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