The ontogeny of fluctuating asymmetry

Kellner, James R., and Alford, Ross A. (2003) The ontogeny of fluctuating asymmetry. American Naturalist, 161 (6). pp. 931-947.

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We tested seven hypotheses regarding the mechanisms by which fluctuating asymmetry (FA) originates. We did this by analyzing data on four bilateral characters measured repeatedly during the development of individual domestic fowl. Immediately posthatching, there was substantial directional asymmetry, which rapidly decreased. We detected FA at significant levels in all characters in the majority of our measurements over the remainder of development. We also examined the effects of known environmental stressors (food and density stress) on levels of FA. At the levels we examined, changes in these stressors did not alter the degree of asymmetry we found in fowl. Time series of asymmetry for individuals did not exhibit regular oscillations, as much of the relevant literature predicts. Asymmetry levels reflected the combined effects of developmental noise, which was random in degree and direction, and feedback processes, which decreased asymmetry by altering growth rates on both sides of the body. Our findings best fit the predictions of the residual asymmetry and compensatory growth hypotheses, which suggest that levels of asymmetry reflect only recent growth history.

Item ID: 5727
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0003-0147
Keywords: bioindicator; developmental instability; fluctuating asymmetry; ontogeny; stress
Date Deposited: 23 Dec 2009 03:25
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060899 Zoology not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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