Advertisement

The Evolution of Gut Modulation and Diet Specialization as a Consumer-Resource Game

  • Christopher J. Whelan
  • Joel S. Brown
  • Jason Moll
Part of the Annals of the International Society of Dynamic Games book series (AISDG, volume 9)

Abstract

Diet provides an important source of niche partitioning that promotes species coexistence and biodiversity. Often, one species selects for a scarcer but more nutritious food (Thomson gazelle) while another opportunistically consumes low-and high-quality foods indiscriminately (African buffalo). In addition to choosing a diet (selective versus opportunistic), organisms have co-adapted digestion physiologies that vary in size and the throughput rate at which food passes through the gut. We combine these elements into a game of resource competition. We consider a vector-valued strategy with elements of gut size and throughput rate. To the forager, food items now have three properties relating to the value of a particular strategy: profitability (energy gained per unit handling time), richness (energy gained per unit bulk), and ease of digestion (energy gain per unit of passage time). When foraging on foods that differ in profitability, richness, and ease of digestion, adjustment or modulation of gut size and throughput rate leads to digestive-system specialization. Modulation of digestive physiology to a particular food type causes different food types to become antagonistic resources. Adjustment of gut volume and processing thus selects for different degrees of diet specialization or opportunism, and thus may promote niche diversification. This in turn sets the stage for disruptive or divergent selection and may promote sympatric speciation.

Keywords

Food Type Sympatric Speciation Handling Time Evolutionarily Stable Strategy Throughput Rate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. [1]
    J. S. Brown(1990), Habitat selection as an evolutionary game. Evolution 44, 732–746.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. [2]
    R. Cressman (2004), Coevolution, adaptive dynamics, and the replicator equation for a single species with a continuous trait space. Proceedings, International Society of Dynamic Games, Tucson, Arizona, USA.Google Scholar
  3. [3]
    J. Garay and L. Eötvös (2004), Adaptive phenotypic change based on ecological stability. Proceedings, International Society of Dynamic Games, Tucson, Arizona, USA.Google Scholar
  4. [4]
    C. S. Holling (1965), The functional response of predators to prey density and its role in mimicry and population regulation. Memoirs of the Entomological Society of Canada 45, 1–60.Google Scholar
  5. [5]
    K. Johannesson (2003), Evolution in Littorina: ecology matters. Journal of Sea Research 49, 107–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. [6]
    P. A. Jumars and C. Martínez del Rio(dy1999), The tau of continuous feeding on simple foods. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 72, 633–641.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. [7]
    W. H. Karasov (1996), Digestive plasticity in avian energetics and feeding ecology. Pages 61–84in C. Cary, editor, Avian Energetics. Chapman & Hall, New York, New York, USA.Google Scholar
  8. [8]
    W. H. Karasov and I. D. Hume (1997), The vertebrate gastrointestinal system. Pages 407–480 in W. H. Dantzler, editor, Handbook of Physiology, Section 13: Comparative Physiology, Vol. 1. Oxford University Press, Oxford, New York, New York, USA.Google Scholar
  9. [9]
    C. Martín ez del Rio, S. Cork, and W. H. Karasov (1994), Engineering and digestion: modeling gut function. Pages 25–53 in D. Chivers and P. Langer, editors, Food and Form and Function of the Mammalian Digestive Tract. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom.Google Scholar
  10. [10]
    J. Maynard Smith (1966), Sympatric speciation. American Naturalist 100, 637–650.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. [11]
    T. J. McWhorters and C. Martínez del Rio (2000), Does gut function limit hummingbird food intake? Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 73, 313–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. [12]
    W. A. Mitchell (2006), Adaptive dynamics, resource conversion efficiency, and species diversity. Proceedings, International Society of Dynamic Games, Tucson, Arizona, USA.Google Scholar
  13. [13]
    H. R. Rundle, L. Nagel, J. Wenrick Boughman, and D. Schluter (2000), Natural selection and parallel speciation in sympatric sticklebacks. Science 287, 306–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. [14]
    T. B. Smith (1990), Comparative breeding biology of the two bill morphs of the black-bellied seedcracker. The Auk 107, 153–160.Google Scholar
  15. [15]
    J. M. Starck (2003), Shaping up: how vertebrates adjust their digestive system to changing environmental conditions. Animal Biology 53, 247–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. [16]
    E. Verheyen, W. Salzburger, J. Snoeks, and A. Meyer (2003), Origin of the super flock of cichlid fishes from Lake Victoria, East Africa. Science 300, 325–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. [17]
    S. Via (2001), Sympatric speciation in animals: the ugly duckling grows up. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 16, 381–390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. [18]
    T. L. Vincent and J. S. Brown (2005), Evolutionary Game Theory, Natural Selection, and Darwinian Dynamics. University of Cambridge Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom.MATHGoogle Scholar
  19. [19]
    C. J. Whelan and J. S. Brown (2005), Optimal foraging and gut constraints: reconciling two schools of thought. Oikos 110, 481–496.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. [20]
    C. J. Whelan, J. S. Brown, K. A. Schmidt, B. B. Steele, and M. F. Willson (2000), Linking consumer-resource theory and digestive physiology: application to seasonal diet shifts. Evolutionary Ecology Research 2, 911–934.Google Scholar
  21. [21]
    C. J. Whelan and K. A. Schmidt (2006), Food acquisition and processing. In Stephens, D. W., Ydenberg, R. and Brown, J. S., editors, Foraging. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL, USA.Google Scholar
  22. [22]
    T. K. Wood, K. J. Tilmon, A. B. Shantz, C. K. Harris, and J. Pesek (1999), The role of host-plant fidelity in initiating insect race formation. Evolutionary Ecology Research 1, 317–332.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Boston 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher J. Whelan
    • 1
  • Joel S. Brown
    • 2
  • Jason Moll
    • 2
  1. 1.Illinois Natural History SurveyMidewin National Tallgrass PrairieWilmingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA

Personalised recommendations