Partitioning colony size variation into growth and partial mortality

Madin, Joshua S., Baird, Andrew H., Baskett, Marissa L., Connolly, Sean R., and Dornelas, Maria A. (2020) Partitioning colony size variation into growth and partial mortality. Biology Letters, 16 (1). 20190727.

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Body size is a trait that broadly influences the demography and ecology of organisms. In unitary organisms, body size tends to increase with age. In modular organisms, body size can either increase or decrease with age, with size changes being the net difference between modules added through growth and modules lost through partial mortality. Rates of colony extension are independent of body size, but net growth is allometric, suggesting a significant role of size-dependent mortality. In this study, we develop a generalizable model of partitioned growth and partial mortality and apply it to data from 11 species of reef-building coral. We show that corals generally grow at constant radial increments that are size independent, and that partial mortality acts more strongly on small colonies. We also show a clear life-history trade-off between growth and partial mortality that is governed by growth form. This decomposition of net growth can provide mechanistic insights into the relative demographic effects of the intrinsic factors (e.g. acquisition of food and life-history strategy), which tend to affect growth, and extrinsic factors (e.g. physical damage, and predation), which tend to affect mortality.

Item ID: 62348
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1744-957X
Keywords: body size, colonial organism, partial mortality, life-histories, trade-offs, demography
Copyright Information: © 2020 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), Leverhulme Fellowship, John Templeton Foundation (JTF)
Projects and Grants: JTF grant no. 60501
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2020 07:30
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180504 Marine biodiversity @ 100%
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