Aquatic Ecology

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 361–372 | Cite as

Temperature and kairomone induced life history plasticity in coexisting Daphnia

  • Randall J. BernotEmail author
  • Walter K. Dodds
  • Michael C. Quist
  • Christopher S. Guy


We investigated the life history alterations of coexisting Daphnia species responding to environmental temperature and predator cues. In a laboratory experiment, we measured Daphnia life history plasticity under different predation risk and temperature treatments that simulate changing environmental conditions. Daphnia pulicaria abundance and size at first reproduction (SFR) declined, while ephippia (resting egg) formation increased at high temperatures. Daphnia mendotae abundance and clutch size increased with predation risk at high temperatures, but produced few ephippia. Thus, each species exhibited phenotypic plasticity, but responded in sharply different ways to the same environmental cues. In Glen Elder reservoir, Kansas USA, D. pulicaria dominance shifted to D. mendotae dominance as temperature and predation risk increased from March to June in both 1999 and 2000. Field estimates of life history shifts mirrored the laboratory experiment results, suggesting that similar phenotypic responses to seasonal cues contribute to seasonal Daphnia population trends. These results illustrate species-specific differences in life history plasticity among coexisting zooplankton taxa.


Daphnia pulicaria Daphnia mendotae Life history Phenotypic plasticity Ephippia 


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We thank M. Bernot, C. Oppert, S. Butler, J. Delp, J. Hart, K. Gido, N. Gerlanc, C. Smith, K. Kemp, J. Nechols, J. Trexler, and G. Lamberti. We also thank three anonymous reviewers for comments on previous versions of this manuscript and K. Austin and the staff at Glen Elder State Park for their assistance with this and other research on Glen Elder Reservoir. Funding was provided by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks through Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration, Project F-45-R2 and Kansas State University.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Randall J. Bernot
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Walter K. Dodds
    • 1
  • Michael C. Quist
    • 1
    • 3
  • Christopher S. Guy
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Division of BiologyKansas State UniversityManhattanUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesMurray State UniversityMurrayUSA
  3. 3.Natural Resource Ecology and ManagementIowa State UniversityAmesUSA
  4. 4.U.S. Geological Survey—Biological Resources Division, Montana Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, Department of EcologyMontana State UniversityBozemanUSA

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