, Volume 446-447, Issue 1, pp 1-11

Dormancy patterns in rotifers

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Dormancy is common among rotifers: monogononts produce resting eggs (diapause) commonly after switching to mictic phase, and bdelloids enter anhydrobiosis (quiescence) at any time during their life cycle. Monogononts are short-lived and inhabit coarse-grained environments; their dormancy is a long-lasting diapause, commonly initiated by indirect remote cues. Bdelloids live 3 times as long, live in fine-grained environments and enter short-lasting quiescence as a direct response to changing environment. The two dormancy forms of the rotifers can be related to the temporal variation of their environments and seem to represent diverse responses to disturbance occurring at different rates. The two strategies are alternative and mutually exclusive, as no single rotifer species seems capable of both diapause and quiescence. Dormancy has great ecological significance: it can carry the population through stressful conditions, promote species coexistence and serve as a biodiversity bank providing reliable colonization source.