, Volume 360, Issue 1, pp 89–99

Phenotypic plasticity of Daphnia life history traits in response to predator kairomones: genetic variability and evolutionary potential


  • Anke Weber
    • Netherlands Institute for Ecology
  • Steven Declerck
    • Laboratory of Animal Ecology

DOI: 10.1023/A:1003188331933

Cite this article as:
Weber, A. & Declerck, S. Hydrobiologia (1997) 360: 89. doi:10.1023/A:1003188331933


Cladoceran populations can respond to changingpredation regimes by a phenotypical response as wellas by shifts in genotype frequencies. In this study,we investigated the phenotypic plasticity exhibited bylife history traits of D. galeata in response tothe presence of predator kairomones, as well as theextent to which natural selection may act on thesetraits and their phenotypic plasticity. In alife-table experiment, seven clones of a natural D. galeata population were subjected to kairomonesfrom fish (Perca), from an invertebrate predator(Chaoborus) or a mixture of both. Life historytraits were affected by the kairomones of bothpredators, but effects of Chaoborus wereneutralised by Perca in the kairomone mix. Noapparent trade-off was found between growth- andreproduction related traits: although daphnids fromthe Chaoborus treatment grew faster thandaphnids from the other treatments, no reduction inthe reproductive output was observed. Broad-senseheritabilities were found to be relatively high forsome life history traits (size at maturity, neonatesize, number of neonates) as well as for thephenotypic plasticity response of these traits. Thisreflects the evolutionary potential of life historytraits and their phenotypic response to predatorkairomones in the D. galeata population.

broad-sense heritability Chaoborus Perca kairomone mixture

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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997