My project deals with evolution of local adaptations and phenotypic plasticity of morphological and behavioural defences against predation. I study adaptive phenotypic plasticity in freshwater prey, trying to quantify phenotypic and plasticity costs of inducible defences. As a model organism I work with a freshwater snail (Radix balthica), which induce phenotypic change in both shell morphology and behaviour when exposed to chemical cues from fish. Also, since prey populations living in more stable environments (low temporal/spatial variability in selections pressure) should be less plastic, I will quantify how gene flow affects the selection for plasticity. Furthermore, there are factors influencing the amount and direction of gene flow between populations (e.g. landscape characteristics, habitat features and vectors) and by quantifying these factors we can further understand how gene flow affects local populations.
Ahlgren, J. and C. Brönmark. 2012. Fleeing towards death leech induced behavioural defences increase freshwater snail susceptibility to predatory fish. Oikos (accepted) DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0706.2012.20420.x
Brönmark, C, T Lakowitz, PA Nilsson, J Ahlgren, C Lennartsdotter, J Hollander (2012) Costs of Inducible Defence along a Resource Gradient. Plos One 7: e30467 doi: 10.1371/journal.pone0030467
Ahlgren, J., K. Åbjörnsson, and C. Brönmark. 2011. The influence of predator regime on the behaviour and mortality of a freshwater amphipod, Gammarus pulex. Hydrobiologia 671:39-49.
Main advisor: Christer Brönmark