Daphnia as a model organism in limnology and aquatic biology: introductory remarks
AbstractCladocerans of the genus Daphnia are keystone pelagic filter feeders in many temperate ponds and lakes. They have also become popular model organisms in various biological disciplines, from aquatic ecology to biomedical sciences. The crucial features that make these organisms excellent experimental models are their cyclical parthenogenetic life cycle together with easy culturing and handling. Thanks to these characteristics, the number of publications dealing with Daphnia is rapidly growing. The special insert to the Journal of Limnology on Daphnia biology contains contributions that deal directly or indirectly with the reproduction and development of these water fleas, in relation to various ecological factors. These include predator-prey interactions and their impact on morphology, population dynamics, or senescence-related traits, growth of daphnids on a diet consisting of invasively spreading cyanobacteria, and also the impact of extreme floods on a Daphnia population (and particularly on its dormant ephippial egg bank) in a reservoir. Here, we discuss these presented works, and point out the potential lines of research that may improve the generalisation of their findings.
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