Aquatic Sciences

, Volume 75, Issue 3, pp 433–445 | Cite as

Seasonal succession of cyanobacterial protease inhibitors and Daphnia magna genotypes in a eutrophic Swedish lake

  • Anke Schwarzenberger
  • Sofie D’Hondt
  • Wim Vyverman
  • Eric von Elert
Research Article


Lakes are well known for having a pattern of seasonal succession of phytoplankton and zooplankton. The succession of different taxa of phytoplankton results in a succession of zooplankton taxa, and within the genus Daphnia, into a succession of different genotypes (clones). One cause for this succession of Daphnia clones might be the production of digestive protease inhibitors by cyanobacteria, which usually bloom in summer. Here we report seasonal changes in the frequency and the abundance of Daphnia magna haplotypes in a eutrophic lake, which developed a chymotrypsin-inhibitor-producing cyanobacterial bloom in May. These seasonal changes were not related to changes of biotic and abiotic lake parameters. However, a very high content of chymotrypsin inhibitors was observed in May (but not in other months). This was assumed to have exerted a strong punctual selection pressure on the Daphnia population and on the direct targets of the protease inhibitors, i.e. the digestive chymotrypsins of Daphnia. Actually, D. magna from before and during the cyanobacterial bloom showed a different protease pattern on activity stained SDS-PAGE in comparison to clones from the month after the bloom. However, no difference in tolerance, measured as IC50 values, to inhibition by natural lake seston from May was found between the clones from before and after the bloom. Thus, the hypothesis that a seasonal adaptation of D. magna subpopulations from either April/May or June might have occurred could not be proven. This suggests that the Daphnia population investigated here is locally adapted to cyanobacterial protease inhibitors.


Daphnia Cyanobacteria Protease inhibitors Seasonal succession Adaptation Chymotrypsin 



The authors thank Lars-Anders Hansson for the provision of laboratory capacities in Lund, Sweden. Thanks also go to Susanne Gustafsson, Gertrud Cronberg, Mark Schwarzenberger and Petra Dinnebier for their support in field sampling, and to Leif Nilsson for the provision of the boat. We also thank Robert Koller and Michael Bonkowski for their help in the statistical analysis of the CCA. This study was supported by grants from the German Research Foundation (DFG) to E.V.E. (E1 179/6-1) and another grant within the Collaborative Research Centre SFB 680 Molecular Basis for Evolutionary Innovations.

Supplementary material

27_2013_290_MOESM1_ESM.doc (1.1 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 1151 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anke Schwarzenberger
    • 1
  • Sofie D’Hondt
    • 2
  • Wim Vyverman
    • 2
  • Eric von Elert
    • 1
  1. 1.Cologne BiocenterUniversity of CologneKölnGermany
  2. 2.Research Group Protistology and Aquatic EcologyGhent UniversityGhentBelgium

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