Cryptobiosis is an ametabolic state of life entered by some lower organisms (among metazoans mainly rotifers, tardigrades and nematodes) in response to adverse environmental conditions. Despite a long recognition of cryptobiotic organisms, the evolutionary origin and life history consequences of this biological phenomenon have remained unexplored. We present one of the first theoretical models on the evolution of cryptobiosis, using a hypothetical population of marine tardigrades that migrates between open sea and the tidal zone as the model framework. Our model analyses the conditions under which investments into anhydrobiotic (cryptobiosis induced by desiccation) functions will evolve, and which factors affect the optimal level Of Such investments. In particular, we evaluate how the probability of being exposed to adverse conditions (getting stranded) and the consequences for survival Of Such exposure (getting desiccated) affects the option for cryptobiosis to evolve. The optimal level of investment into anhydrobiotic traits increases with increasing probability of being stranded as well as with increasing negative survival effects of being stranded. However, our analysis shows that the effect on survival of being stranded is a more important parameter than the probability of stranding for the evolution of anhydrobiosis. The existing, although limited, evidence from empirical studies seems to support some of these predictions.
|Tidskrift||Annales Zoologici Fennici|
|Status||Publicerad - 2003|
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