, Volume 442, Issue 1-3, pp 241-252

Reproductive potential of Daphnia galeata in relation to food conditions: implications of a changing size-structure of the population

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Abstract

A field study was conducted in the highly eutrophic, biomanipulated Bautzen Reservoir to investigate the influences of food conditions on fecundity of Daphnia galeata during spring and early summer in four consecutive years. By defining a relation between body size and maximum brood size, the realised reproductive potential (RRP) of Daphnia was expressed as percentage of actual egg numbers of the population in relation to calculated maximum egg numbers. This parameter is independent of the size structure of the population. It was found to correlate generally with mean clutch size. However, deviations occurred if size at maturity (SAM) declined. Extremely low SAM values (∼0.8 mm) were recorded in 2 years, corresponding with increasing food concentrations. Low clutch sizes in these situations can be explained by small body sizes of ovigerous females, whereas RRP increased, thus reflecting good food conditions. From the comparison of different reproductive parameters, it is concluded that RRP is the most reliable one with regard to bottom-up influences in case of extremely variable size structure and possible predation impacts. Fecundity of D. galeata was clearly food limited during the clear-water stage. Relatively high POC-threshold concentrations of 0.26 mg C l−1 suggest that food quality was low and may be equally important as food quantity in limiting egg production.