Inherent high correlation of individual motility enhances population dispersal in a heterotrophic, planktonic protist.
Bottom Line:
These minute-scale estimates are considerably greater than previous estimates of second-scale correlation times.Considerable cell-to-cell variation and behavioral heterogeneity were critical to these results.Strongly correlated random walkers were predicted to have significantly greater dispersal distances and more rapid encounters with remote targets (e.g. resource patches, predators) than weakly correlated random walkers.
View Article:
PubMed Central - PubMed
Affiliation: University of Rhode Island, Graduate School of Oceanography, Narragansett, Rhode Island, USA. smenden@gso.uri.edu
ABSTRACT
Show MeSH
Quantitative linkages between individual organism movements and the resulting population distributions are fundamental to understanding a wide range of ecological processes, including rates of reproduction, consumption, and mortality, as well as the spread of diseases and invasions. Typically, quantitative data are collected on either movement behaviors or population distributions, rarely both. This study combines empirical observations and model simulations to gain a mechanistic understanding and predictive ability of the linkages between both individual movement behaviors and population distributions of a single-celled planktonic herbivore. In the laboratory, microscopic 3D movements and macroscopic population distributions were simultaneously quantified in a 1L tank, using automated video- and image-analysis routines. The vertical velocity component of cell movements was extracted from the empirical data and used to motivate a series of correlated random walk models that predicted population distributions. Validation of the model predictions with empirical data was essential to distinguish amongst a number of theoretically plausible model formulations. All model predictions captured the essence of the population redistribution (mean upward drift) but only models assuming long correlation times (minute), captured the variance in population distribution. Models assuming correlation times of 8 minutes predicted the least deviation from the empirical observations. Autocorrelation analysis of the empirical data failed to identify a de-correlation time in the up to 30-second-long swimming trajectories. These minute-scale estimates are considerably greater than previous estimates of second-scale correlation times. Considerable cell-to-cell variation and behavioral heterogeneity were critical to these results. Strongly correlated random walkers were predicted to have significantly greater dispersal distances and more rapid encounters with remote targets (e.g. resource patches, predators) than weakly correlated random walkers. The tendency to disperse rapidly in the absence of aggregative stimuli has important ramifications for the ecology and biogeography of planktonic organisms that perform this kind of random walk. Related in: MedlinePlus |
Related In:
Results -
Collection
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2958803&req=5
Mentions: Organism swimming behaviors and vertical distributions were measured in 3D using vertically moveable, stereo video cameras that recorded in randomized order at 6 vertically separate horizons. Each video segment yielded both individual movement behaviors and abundance of organisms. The footage was processed through a series of automated video-analysis steps that yielded organism positions, which were then used to reconstruct and analyze 3D movement behaviors. The empirical movement data consist of a total 1032 movement trajectories of Oxyrrhis marina swimming freely within 1L, 30 cm high column of filtered seawater, several cm distance from the nearest wall. The minimum trajectory length was 3 seconds, with 124 trajectories exceeding 10 seconds in duration. In total, these observations represent 108 minutes of movement data, with the median trajectories length 5.2 seconds and the longest observation 33 seconds. The mean swimming speed was 235 (103) and the mean swimming direction was 57 (34) off the vertical axis. The frequency distribution of the over 24000 empirically determined vertical velocities shows that their distribution is non-gaussian, with a significant negative skewness (Fig. 1). Thus, the population was characterized by few strong down-swimmers and many, relatively slower up-swimmers. The median vertical velocity was 118 with a considerable standard deviation of 110 . There was some indication that the population either underwent behavioral shifts during the time of observation, or that there were multiple behavioral types represented within this clonal lineage of O. marina. Vertical velocity significantly increased over the period of observation (p = 0.01), whereas there were no significant differences among vertical velocities measured at the six depths in the water column (p = 0.13). The frequency distribution of vertical velocities remained positively biased, irrespective of the time elapsed since introduction. Consistent upward swimming bias indicates that this bias was inherent to the organisms and not a function of the point of introduction at the base of the water column. |
View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed
Affiliation: University of Rhode Island, Graduate School of Oceanography, Narragansett, Rhode Island, USA. smenden@gso.uri.edu