This project will examine the life-history effects of reduced food availability on water striders, Gerris buenoi, held under natural conditions. The project aims to assess the generality of the well-known finding that laboratory animals fed a significantly restricted diet live longer, age more slowly, and have a reduced reproductive rate. This idea has never been tested in a wild environment, where challenges such as exposure to predators and pathogens and climactic extremes, may reveal costs of dietary restriction that are masked in benign laboratory environments. We will measure daily reproductive rate and mortality in two feeding treatments: reduced feeding and full feeding. The water striders will be held in large tanks filled with pond water and an assemblage of flora and fauna representative of local ponds. The tanks will be kept outside in natural conditions, and the animals within them exposed to all the challenges of life in a realworld environment.
Principal Investigator: Locke Rowe
Researcher: Margo Adler