Effects of diel vertical migration on ephippia production in Daphnia
AbstractFish presence in experimentally simulated temperature conditions (limno-towers) led to diel vertical migration and resulted in a decrease of ephippia production in Daphnia pulicaria. Diel fluctuation of food, temperature and day length similar to those experienced by migrating Daphnia were tested in laboratory experiments with flow-through-systems. Daphnids were kept under these conditions for 15 days and the proportions of females producing an ephippium were determined. In addition, maturation time, survival to maturation, size of the first clutch and female dry weight (without eggs) on day 15 were traced. The most important factor affecting ephippia production in migrating Daphnia was photoperiod change, and when mother and embryo are exposed to alternating light conditions, these are thought to have the effect on the mother of acting as a signal to stop ephippia production. Such effects might be explained by the different sensitiveness to light intensity in females carrying an embryo and an embryo itself in broods. Fish presence forced Daphnia to stay in low-light conditions during daytime hours, to avoid attacks by fish. The Daphnia were able to check light intensity constantly by short vertical jumps above a light-threshold that was confirmed experimentally in limno-towers. The dim conditions were possibly light enough for adults to check day length, but were too dark for embryos shaded by the mother's body. Food conditions played a relatively small role in the process, and no effects of temperature on ephippia production were found. As expected, food affected the size of the first clutch, and temperature controlled the time to maturation. Photoperiod had a marginally significant influence on the time to maturation in Daphnia. A hypothesis on the role of photoperiod as the key factor for Daphnia life cyclic recurrence and other seasonal adaptations is proposed.
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Copyright (c) 2004 Victor ALEKSEEV
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