Colonization dynamics and life history traits of seven Daphnia pulex genotypes

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A series of experiments revealed significant differences in the potential ability of seven Daphnia pulex genotypes to colonize two lakes in which this species does not naturally reside. Life table experiments, in which individuals from each genotype were raised separately on water and natural phytoplankton from the two lakes, revealed several significant differences among genotypes in life history traits, including age and size at first reproduction, clutch size and offspring body size. Significant differences among genotypes were also found in mean genotype fitness and rate of population increase, although all genotypes were able to increase in absolute numbers. Significant genotypexlake interaction was found for several life history traits and mean fitness, indicating that the relative success of invading genotypes may depend on habitat characteristics. Enclosure experiments, in which all seven genotypes were introduced together into enclosures in both lakes, revealed that some genotypes increased greatly while others declined in relative abundance, and that the most successful genotypes differed between lakes. In addition, the most successful genotypes in the enclosures were not necessarily the genotypes that displayed the highest fitness in the life table experiments, possibly because individuals in the enclosures competed for food resources, leading to exclusion of certain genotypes.

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Vanni, M.J. Colonization dynamics and life history traits of seven Daphnia pulex genotypes. Oecologia 72, 263–271 (1987).

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Key words

  • Colonization
  • Daphnia pulex
  • Fitness
  • Genotypes
  • Life history traits