Congratulations to Ecofisher Dan Durston and co-author Rana El-Sabaawi on a recent publication in the Journal of Evolutionary Ecology Research titled, “The utility of stoichiometric and metabolic theory for understanding the foraging habitat and excretion of threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus).”
In a paper previously published by Dan, he demonstrated that genetic variation in bony traits (e.g. armor plating), changes a fish’s demand for the resources needed to build bone (particularly phosphorus). As such, individuals with bony genetics have higher phosphorus needs and thus should be acquiring more in their diet or releasing less in their waste to meet higher need. This paper investigated the diet and excretion of individual stickleback in relation to phosphorous demand and genetics. Research deduced that phosphorus related genetic variation is an excellent predictor of differences in diet choice, with bony fish preferring high phosphorus foods. Thus if there is natural selection on this genetic variation (due to predation or other), it could shift the food web and aquatic chemistry of a lake. Other interesting results determined that when females start investing in the creation of reproductive tissues (eggs) which are low in phosphorus relative to body tissues, they start releasing surplus phosphorus into the lake.
Access the full publication here: http://www.evolutionary-ecology.com/issues/v20/n02/ffar3154.pdf