Phototactic behavior of native Daphnia in the presence of chemical cues from a non-native predator Bythotrephes

Abstract

Chemical cues are used by many taxa to communicate within and among species. Behavioral defenses induced by predator cues are a mechanism by which prey species resist or avoid predator attack. This study examined the egg bank of native Daphnia species in a lake that has been invaded by Bythotrephes longimanus, an invertebrate zooplanktivore native to northern-central Europe and Asia (initial invasion 1994, population boom in 2009). Daphnia resting eggs from both pre- and post-B. longimanus invasion lake sediments were hatched and established as isofemale clonal lines. Phototactic behavior (a proxy for vertical migration behavior) was assessed in the presence and absence of B. longimanus cue. This was done to evaluate the hypothesis that the heavy predation imposed by B. longimanus would have been selected for Daphnia clones that are more negatively phototactic in the presence of B. longimanus cue, because B. longimanus is a visual predator. The behavior of the clones derived from pre-B. longimanus era resting eggs was not significantly different from the behavior of the clones from the post-B. longimanus era and exposure to predator cue did not affect the phototactic response of the clones. There was a significant difference in the phototactic behavior of the three Daphnia species tested (Daphnia ambigua, Daphnia mendotae, and Daphnia pulicaria). These results suggest that predation by B. longimanus is not the main factor that is influencing the phototactic behavior of Daphnia in the lake. Other factors such as fish predation may be playing a more significant role in this system.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Jake Walsh for his assistance in the collection of sediment cores and logistical support. We thank Rachel Hartnett, Rebecca Prather, Ellen Welti, Silvia Markova, Christian Brewer, and Katherine Hooker for assisting with setup of the phototactic assays. Kevin Kiehnau provided vital assistance in the collection of zooplankton samples. We thank Claire Curry for providing advice on the statistical analyses. We thank John Shurin and three anonymous reviewers for valuable comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. This work was supported by The University of Oklahoma Department of Biology Adams Scholarship Fund. This manuscript represents a portion of ELK’s doctoral dissertation at The University of Oklahoma.

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ELK conceived and designed the experiment with input from LJW. ELK conducted the fieldwork. ELK and LJW processed sediments and conducted the laboratory experiments. ELK analyzed the data and drafted the manuscript. LJW provided conceptual advice and edited the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Emily L. Kiehnau.

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Communicated by Jonathan Shurin.

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Kiehnau, E.L., Weider, L.J. Phototactic behavior of native Daphnia in the presence of chemical cues from a non-native predator Bythotrephes. Oecologia 190, 799–809 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-019-04461-6

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Keywords

  • Invasive species
  • Inducible defenses
  • Kairmones
  • Vertical migration
  • Zooplankton