Partitioning colony size variation into growth and partial mortality
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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.
Madin , J S , Baird , A H , Baskett , M L , Connolly , S R & Dornelas , M A 2020 , ' Partitioning colony size variation into growth and partial mortality ' , Biology Letters , vol. 16 , no. 1 , 2019.0727 . https://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2019.0727
© 2020 The Author(s). Published by the Royal Society. This work has been made available online in accordance with publisher policies or with permission. Permission for further reuse of this content should be sought from the publisher or the rights holder. This is the author created accepted manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2019.0727
DescriptionWe thank the Australian Research Council for fellowship and research support. M.A.D. is funded by a Leverhulme Fellowship and by the John Templeton Foundation grant no. 60501.
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