Larger animals studied during ontogeny, across populations, or across species, usually have lower mass-specific metabolic rates than smaller animals (hypometric scaling). This pattern is usually observed regardless of physiological state (e.g., basal, resting, field, and maximally active). The scaling of metabolism is usually highly correlated with the scaling of many life-history traits, behaviors, physiological variables, and cellular/molecular properties, making determination of the causation of this pattern challenging. For across-species comparisons of resting and locomoting animals (but less so for across populations or during ontogeny), the mechanisms at the physiological and cellular level are becoming clear. Lower mass-specific metabolic rates of larger species at rest are due to (a) lower contents of expensive tissues (brains, liver, and kidneys), and (b) slower ion leak across membranes at least partially due to membrane composition, with lower ion pump ATPase activities. Lower mass-specific costs of larger species during locomotion are due to lower costs for lower-frequency muscle activity, with slower myosin and Ca++ ATPase activities, and likely more elastic energy storage. The evolutionary explanation(s) for hypometric scaling remain(s) highly controversial. One subset of evolutionary hypotheses relies on constraints on larger animals due to changes in geometry with size; for example, lower surface-to-volume ratiosmore »
Although eusocial animals often achieve ecological dominance in the ecosystems where they occur, many populations are unstable, resulting in local extinction. Both patterns may be linked to the characteristic demography of eusocial species—high reproductive skew and reproductive division of labor support stable effective population sizes that make eusocial groups more competitive in some species, but also lower effective population sizes that increase susceptibility to population collapse in others. Here, we examine the relationship between demography and social organization in Synalpheus snapping shrimps, a group in which eusociality has evolved recently and repeatedly. We show using coalescent demographic modeling that eusocial species have had lower but more stable effective population sizes across 100,000 generations. Our results are consistent with the idea that stable population sizes may enable competitive dominance in eusocial shrimps, but they also suggest that recent population declines are likely caused by eusocial shrimps’ heightened sensitivity to environmental changes, perhaps as a result of their low effective population sizes and localized dispersal. Thus, although the unique life histories and demography of eusocial shrimps have likely contributed to their persistence and ecological dominance over evolutionary time scales, these social traits may also make them vulnerable to contemporary environmental change.
- Publication Date:
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Journal Name:
- Journal of Heredity
- Oxford University Press
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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