Temperature and kairomone induced life history plasticity in coexisting Daphnia

TitleTemperature and kairomone induced life history plasticity in coexisting Daphnia
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsBernot, RJ, Dodds, WK, Quist, MC, Guy, CS
JournalAquatic Ecology
Pagination361 -372
Accession NumberKNZ001115
KeywordsDaphnia mendotae, Daphnia pulicaria, Ephippia, Life history, Phenotypic plasticity

We investigated the life history alterations of coexisting Daphnia species responding to environmental temperature and predator cues. In a laboratory experiment, we measured Daphnia life history plasticity under different predation risk and temperature treatments that simulate changing environmental conditions. Daphnia pulicaria abundance and size at first reproduction (SFR) declined, while ephippia (resting egg) formation increased at high temperatures. Daphnia mendotae abundance and clutch size increased with predation risk at high temperatures, but produced few ephippia. Thus, each species exhibited phenotypic plasticity, but responded in sharply different ways to the same environmental cues. In Glen Elder reservoir, Kansas USA, D. pulicaria dominance shifted to D. mendotae dominance as temperature and predation risk increased from March to June in both 1999 and 2000. Field estimates of life history shifts mirrored the laboratory experiment results, suggesting that similar phenotypic responses to seasonal cues contribute to seasonal Daphnia population trends. These results illustrate species-specific differences in life history plasticity among coexisting zooplankton taxa.