, Volume 526, Issue 1, pp 187-196

Food Quality Constraints in Daphnia: Interspecific Differences in the Response to the Absence of a Long Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid in the Food Source

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Abstract

The effect of the long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5ω3) on food quality for Daphnia galeata, Daphnia hyalina and a D. galeata×hyalina hybrid was examined. Somatic growth rates of all three species were determined when growing on EPA-free Scenedesmus obliquus and on S. obliquus which had been supplemented with free EPA prior to the growth experiments. Growth rates on S. obliquus were substantially higher in D. galeata(0.45day−1) than in D. hyalina(0.27day−1) and D. galeata×hyalina(0.31day−1). Supplementary EPA increased growth of D. galeata and D. hyalina, but not of the hybrid. Hence within the D. galeata/hyalina complex species differ in their ability to cope with an EPA-free diet. Analysis of fatty acids revealed that tissue concentrations of 18:3ω3, 18:4ω3, 20:3ω3 and 20:4ω3 were higher in D. galeata than in D. hyalina which indicated higher rates of assimilation and biosynthesis of PUFAs in D. galeata. This was contrasted by lower tissue concentrations of 20:5ω3 D. galeata than in D. hyalina which suggests that 20:5ω3 is metabolised with growth. In the D. galeata×hyalina hybrid high PUFA assimilation and biosynthesis were associated with low growth rates which explains the finding that tissue concentrations of 20:5ω3 were highest and that growth was not constrained by the availability of 20:5ω3.