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Title: Ecological plasticity of Southern Ocean bivalves from contrasting environments
Author: Reed, Adam Jerold
ISNI:       0000 0004 2743 5899
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2013
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The ability of a species to show plasticity throughout its range is suggested to be significant to the survival, maintenance, and expansion of populations. In the Southern Ocean, plastic traits may have enabled resilience since the onset of cooling, and given species the capacity to exploit empty niches after the retreat of ice in interglacial periods. Phenotypic plasticity has rarely been investigated in Southern Ocean invertebrates however, and the cold stenothermal environment, which prevails, has often been considered homogenous in its selection on fauna. Previous ecological studies have often pooled together material collected within predetermined biogeographic regions to overcome the limitations of sampling difficulties. Subtle differences between environments may however, be forcing ecological divergence in species, with possible implications for speciation processes. This thesis investigates the phenotypic plasticity and reproduction among populations of the small shallow-water brooding bivalve Lissarca miliaris over its Antarctic range, and of deep-sea protobranch bivalves Yoldiella ecaudata, Y. sabrina, and Y. valettei from contrasting benthic regions. The reproductive studies of L. miliaris revealed a previously unknown hermaphrodite trait, maximising the reproductive efficiency in a short-lived species where the female’s capacity to brood its young is limited. Reproduction is also described for the first time in deep-sea Antarctic protobranch bivalves and demonstrates lecithotrophic larval development. Additionally, Y. valettei shows evidence of simultaneous hermaphroditism, which may increase the likelihood of successful reproduction in low population densities. Phenotypic plasticity is observed among populations of bivalves, irrespective of geographical proximity, and with no latitudinal trends, but subtle differences in the environment. Significant differences in morphology and growth rates are identified among populations, and reproductive plasticity identified in L. miliaris and Y. sabrina. Increasing atmospheric temperature is also measured to show an effect on the ecophysiology of intertidal populations of L. miliaris at Signy Island over the past 40 years, with increasing growth rates at the cost of smaller offspring and pressure from endolithic algal decay.
Supervisor: Thatje, Sven Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: GC Oceanography ; QH301 Biology