Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why closely related species do not eat the same things

Date:
June 21, 2013
Source:
CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange)
Summary:
Closely related species consume the same resources less often than more remotely related species. In fact, it is the competition for resources, and not their kinship, which determines the food sources of the species of a community. Under the effect of this competition, closely related species have specialized on different food resources.

Parasitoid wasp laying an egg in an aphid.
Credit: © Dirk Sanders

Closely related species consume the same resources less often than more remotely related species. In fact, it is the competition for resources, and not their kinship, which determines the food sources of the species of a community. Under the effect of this competition, closely related species have specialized on different food resources. This is the conclusion of a study carried out by researchers from CNRS, the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle and Exeter University (United Kingdom). These results were obtained by studying trophic interactions between species at an extraordinary level of detail in an English meadow.

Published on 20 June 2013 in the journal Current Biology, the work provides important insights into the evolution of ecological communities at a time when certain are being disrupted by climate change and the arrival of invasive species.

In ecology, the present paradigm considers that kinship relations between species determine the identity of the partners with which the species interact: the more closely related the species, the more chance they have of interacting with the same partners. Thus, according to this view, two closely related species should share the same predators and the same preys. Recent work carried out by a team of researchers from CNRS, the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle and Exeter University shows that this is not necessarily the case. For the first time, the scientists have shown that although kinship between species effectively determines what feeds on species, it is competition for resources and not degree of kinship that determines what species feed on.

To arrive at this conclusion, they made a series of observations over a ten-year period in a meadow in the south east of England. These observations, carried out at an extraordinary level of detail, made it possible to establish the interactions between one hundred or so species situated on four trophic levels: plants (23 species), aphids that feed on these plants (25 species), wasps that lay their eggs in the bodies of the aphids (22 species), and other wasps that lay their eggs in the larvae of the preceding wasps inside aphids (26 species).

The researchers have shown that two closely related species of aphid, for example, are generally the prey of the same species of wasp. It is thus the kinship of species that determines the identity of their predators. On the other hand, these two closely related species of aphid do not necessarily feed on the same plants. Going up the food chain, the scientists observed that there was little chance that the most closely related wasps feed on the same species of aphid. This is explained by the fact that under the pressure of competition for food sources, closely related species diversify what they feed on, which has the effect of reducing competition. It was possible to reach this conclusion thanks to the level of detail of the observations made, enabling dynamics to be revealed at a very local scale.

At a time when global warming is creating an imbalance in communities and when numerous species are invading ecosystems to which they were previously alien, these conclusions need to be taken into account if it is wished to predict the new interactions that will result from such changes. In fact, these results show that the resources consumed by a species joining a community cannot be predicted by its kinship relations with those species already present.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Marianne Elias, Colin Fontaine, F.J. Frank van Veen. Evolutionary History and Ecological Processes Shape a Local Multilevel Antagonistic Network. Current Biology, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.05.066

Cite This Page:

CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange). "Why closely related species do not eat the same things." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130621104336.htm>.
CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange). (2013, June 21). Why closely related species do not eat the same things. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130621104336.htm
CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange). "Why closely related species do not eat the same things." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130621104336.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) — Police in Gary, Indiana are using cadaver dogs to search for more victims after a suspected serial killer confessed to killing at least seven women. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) — Visitors to Belgrade zoo meet a pair of three-week-old lion cubs for the first time. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) — Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) — Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins