Email: carita.lindstedt at jyu.fi
Carita Lindstedt is now at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland.
am broadly interested about the evolutionary ecology of predator-prey
interaction. Particularly, my research interest is in defensive
colouration. I am keen to understand selection pressures acting
on warning signal strategies; predator perception, optimal signalling
and trade offs in signal expression. I use a combination of
behavioural, physiological, quantitative genetic and functional
ecological techniques both in the field and laboratory.
Predator perception and sensory ecology as mechanisms explaining
the variation in defensive coloration
Animals exhibit a diversity of colours and patterns to reduce
the risk of predation, from camouflage to prevent detection,
to conspicuous warning signals that indicate to predators that
a prey animal is toxic or unprofitable. Both the prey colour
pattern and the visual backgrounds against which prey are found
consist of a mosaic of patches that vary in colour, brightness,
size and shape. The same colour pattern will appear differently
to animals with different visual systems. Therefore, in order
to understand the function and evolution of defensive coloration,
it is crucial to investigate how the predators’ visual
perception works, how the different prey pattern elements exploit
features of the predator’s visual processing, and how
features of the visual background affect the form and function
of protective coloration.
As a study species I will mainly use Parasemia plantaginis
(Arctiidae) moths which adults are unpreferred prey for
birds and show considerable variation in their colouration both
locally and geographically. Studies will involve modelling of
avian vision to determine the relative conspicuousness of prey,
behavioural assays with prey, and predation experiments in the
field. This study is done in collaboration with Martin Stevens,
Johanna Mappes and Ossi Nokelainen (Jyväskylä; warning
coloration and polymorphism).
2. Trade offs in warning signal expression
This work focuses on the costs and benefits of warning signal
production and maintenance. Studying the selective environment
of prey animals as a whole, and acknowledging that aposematic
individuals have to cope with a range of selection pressures
that affect the optimisation of their defences, are both important
in order to understand the diversity in aposematic strategies
observed in the wild. I am especially interested about the possible
constraints for warning signal production such as costs linked
to life history traits, immunology, pigment production and chemical
defence. I am using the moth Parasemia plantaginis
(aposematic and shows variation in warning colour pattern) and
pine sawfly larvae Neodiprion sertifer and Diprion
pini (camouflaged, gregarious and chemically defended)
as model species.
I collaborate with various researchers including: Predator-prey
interaction research group leaded by Johanna Mappes, Nathan
Morehouse and Jérôme Casas (Tours; Physical Ecology
and animal pigments), Ville Friman (Oxford; Evolution of virulence,
Trade-offs and life-history evolution), Stefan Schulz (Braunschweig;
defence chemicals and chemical communication), Tapio Mappes
and Eero Schroderus (Jyväskylä; maintenance of genetic
variation and lifehistory costs), Teppo Hiltunen (Cornell; pathogen
3. Optimal signaling
It is likely that the cost:benefit ratio of being conspicuous
will vary in space and time depending on multiple factors, among
which the community structure of predators and amount of alternative
prey are the most likely. This project aims to test how the
frequencies of aposematic and camouflaged prey items affect
the predators’ prey preferences in the wild, and how the
predation risk of different defence strategies varies seasonally
along with the changing predator community and vegetation. This
work is done in collaboration with Hannah Rowland (Liverpool;
evolutionary ecology of signalling systems), Toni Laaksonen
(Helsinki; seasonal interactions), Päivi Sirkiä (Turku;
mate choice and territory quality), Johanna Mappes (Jyväskylä;
aposematism and colour polymorphism) and Eira Ihalainen (Jyväskylä;
polyphenism of the European Map buttefly).
I did my MSc and PhD in the University of Jyväskylä (Finland). In 2010 and 2011 I worked as a visiting postdoc (funded by Academy of Finland) in the University of Cambridge. I was granted Docentship in Ecology and
Evolutionary Biology in the Department of Biological and Environmental Science at the University of Jyväskylä in December 2011. Currently I am on maternity leave until autumn 2012.
My work has been/is funded by Academy of Finland, the Centre
of Excellence in Evolutionary Ecology, Ehrnrooth foundation
and Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.
Publications (click here for
a complete list)
C., Huttunen, H., Kakko, M. and Mappes, J. 2011. Disengtangling
the evolution of weak warning signals: high detection risk
and low production costs of chemical defences in gregarious
pine sawfly larvae. Evolutionary Ecology 25: 1029-1046.
C., Morehouse, N. I., Pakkanen, H., Casas, J., Christides,
J. P., Kemppainen, K., Lindström, L. & Mappes, J.
2010. Characterizing the pigment composition of a variable warning
signal of Parasemia plantaginis larvae. Functional
Ecology 24: 759-766.
C., Reudler Talsma, J., Ihalainen, E., Lindström, L.
and Mappes, J. 2010. Diet quality affects coloration indirectly:
excretion costs in a generalist herbivore. Evolution
V., Lindstedt C., Hiltunen T., Laakso, J. & Mappes, J.
2009. Predation on multiple trophic levels shapes the evolution
of pathogen virulence. PLoS ONE 4 (8): e6761.
C., Lindström, L. and Mappes, J. 2009. Thermoregulation
constrains effective warning signal expression. Evolution
C., Lindström, L. and Mappes, J. 2008. Hairiness and
warning colours as components of antipredator defence: additive
or interactive benefits? Animal Behaviour 75: 1703-1713.