Monday, August 14, 2006

 

Time of day tempers tadpoles' response to predators

Tadpoles Evolution Research

Ann Arbor, Michigan - To a tiny tadpole, life boils down to two basic missions: eat, and avoid being eaten. But there's a trade-off. The more a tadpole eats, the faster it grows big enough to transform into a frog; yet finding food requires being active, which ups the odds of becoming someone else's dinner.

Scientists have known that prey adjust their activity levels in response to predation risk, but new research by a University of Michigan graduate student shows that internal factors, such as biorhythms, temper their responses.

Michael Fraker, a doctoral student in the laboratory of ecology and evolutionary biology professor Earl Werner, presented his results Aug. 10 at a meeting of the Ecological Society of America in Memphis, Tennessee.

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