, Volume 636, Issue 1, pp 219–232 | Cite as

Dynamics of sexual and parthenogenetic populations of Eucypris virens (Crustacea: Ostracoda) in three temporary ponds

  • Maria João Fernandes MartinsEmail author
  • Jochen Vandekerkhove
  • Francesc Mezquita
  • Olivier Schmit
  • Juan Rueda
  • Giampaolo Rossetti
  • Tadeusz Namiotko
Primary research paper


Eucypris virens is a freshwater ostracod in which both sexual reproduction and parthenogenesis occur. Sympatric coexistence of both reproductive modes is known in zones of overlap. This renders the species a potentially valuable model organism to study the ‘queen of evolutionary problems’, i.e. why sex is so successful despite its costs (paradox of sex). In order to maximally exploit this potential, a broad knowledge of the species’ ecology is essential, including an understanding of its life history and population dynamics. Here, the phenology of the species was followed in three temporary ponds through monthly (Spain) or fortnightly (Poland) samplings, throughout an inundation period. This study confirms the wide ecological tolerances of E. virens. Although the species is generally assumed to be univoltine, two hatching periods were observed in the Spanish sites. Biotic interactions, especially predation, appear to be the important determinants of population dynamics in long-hydroperiod sites. Abiotic conditions may influence population dynamics through their impact on egg hatching. In the site with male presence, the initially female-biased sex ratio evolved towards a balanced sex ratio through the season. No consistent differences in limb morphology were observed between females originating from the three study sites. On the other hand, valve size of adult females varied among sites, possibly influenced by local environmental conditions (mainly salinity and pH) as well as the expected genetic diversity.


Ostracoda Phenology Temporary ponds Ecological preferences 



This work was funded by the EU Marie Curie Research Training Network SexAsex (From Sex to Asex: a case study on interactions between sexual and asexual reproduction, contract MRTN-CT-2004-512492). We are very grateful to all members of the network for their practical contributions to the work presented here and for many stimulating discussions. Elena Blasco performed the nutrient analyses and Antonio Camacho (Univ. València) assisted in all aspects related to water chemistry. Ramon Julià (CSIC, Barcelona) is acknowledged for assistance with the analyses of cation concentrations. Permission for sampling in MF4 was provided by the Consejeria de Medio Ambiente de Extremadura and in MA3 by the Generalitat Valenciana—PN Devesa Albufera and the Ajuntament de València—OTDA.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 26 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria João Fernandes Martins
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  • Jochen Vandekerkhove
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
  • Francesc Mezquita
    • 5
  • Olivier Schmit
    • 2
    • 5
  • Juan Rueda
    • 5
  • Giampaolo Rossetti
    • 2
  • Tadeusz Namiotko
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Limnozoology, Department of GeneticsUniversity of GdańskGdańskPoland
  2. 2.Department of Environmental SciencesUniversity of ParmaParmaItaly
  3. 3.EAWAG Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Sciences and TechnologyDübendorfSwitzerland
  4. 4.Institute of Integrative Biology (IBZ)ETH-ZürichZürichSwitzerland
  5. 5.Department of Microbiology and EcologyUniversity of ValènciaBurjassotSpain

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