DIET SPECIALIZATION AND GENERALIZATION TRADEOFFS IN THE MUSTARD HERBIOVRE SCAPTOMYZA FLAVA
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
AbstractEvolutionary tradeoffs occur when the fixation of a beneficial trait reduces the effectiveness of another one. In a complex environment, a population with a highly variable mixture of traits may increase the mean fitness. Specialists on the other hand, may fix alleles optimal in one environment, and thereby give up the benefit of thriving in a different environment. My senior thesis study aims to test whether the maintenance of variable traits is beneficial when the environment is variable and what, if any, tradeoffs arise as a result of specialization. I created replicated populations of a drosophilid fly species called Scaptomyza flava and evolved these in three different environments, two specialized and one generalized, for 10 generations. Emergence time, survival, and preference for environment were phenotypically tested for the different populations of flies in all environment types. Emergence time depended on both the environment in which they developed and on the population from which they came. This suggests that tradeoffs exist between specialized and generalized populations that affect their development on both types of environments.