PREDICTING THE EFFECTS OF DENSITY-DEPENDENT RESOURCE LIMITATION ON BODY SIZE OF CRAYFISH POPULATIONS USING INDIVIDUAL-BASED MODELING
Resource availability is a key feature of an animal’s environment that can have important consequences on population dynamics. With increasing environmental unpredictability, there is strong selective pressure on size adaptation (Nevo 1976). As a result, body size is under direct control of competitive ability, age of maturation, and reproductive effort (Skogland 1983). The purpose of this study is to develop and evaluate an individual-based model of crayfish response to environmental conditions, and whether we can predict how population body size changes overtime in response to population density and dynamic food availability. I intend to model the foraging behavior of virile crayfish (Orconectes virilis), an opportunistic omnivorous crustacean and an invasive species in the state of Utah that is readily found throughout major watersheds. The model will address the following questions: 1) How does variation in population density affect the distribution of body size? and 2) What role does resource availability have on predicting body size overtime? Ultimately, this model could have important management implications for controlling the spread of this invasive species.
Doreen Cabrera (Primary Presenter/Author), Brigham Young Univeristy , email@example.com;