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Differential wind dispersal of cladoceran ephippia in a rock pool metacommunity

Abstract

Dispersal connects patches within metapopulations and is crucial to the persistence of many species, particularly those living in discontinuous habitat. Rock pools are excellent habitats in which to study dispersal in time as well as space, because many of the organisms that live within them make resistant long-lived dormant stages, they are often abundant, and they are easy to sample. The rock pools on Appledore Island, Gulf of Maine, USA, are home to several cladocerans, including Moina macrocopa and Daphnia pulex × pulicaria hybrids. Both taxa exist in extremely high abundances in some pools and make diapausing eggs enclosed in ephippia that are dispersed in time by hatching long after they are produced, and are also known to spatially disperse via pool overflows and by adhering to gulls. I hypothesized that ephippia of both taxa would also be spatially dispersed by wind. I found that while Moina are present in more pools, more abundant in those pools, and produce more ephippia, many more Daphnia ephippia dispersed into traps placed around the island. This may be explained, in part, by differences in the buoyancy of ephippia between the two species. A higher propensity to disperse may result in Daphnia relying more heavily on the spatial context of rock pools than Moina.

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Acknowledgements

I am grateful for help from the staff of Shoals Marine Lab, to J.L. Simonis and J. Morin for their previous work in this system, J.L. Simonis for sharing their pool size data, and S.P. Ellner for working through the calculation for ephippia production. C. Chen and J.A. Tyrell provided field assistance. N.G. Hairston, J.L. Simonis, J.A. Tyrell, R.L. Abbott, A. Petrusek, S. van Nouhuys, and 4 anonymous reviewers provided helpful feedback on earlier versions of this manuscript. This research was supported financially by research grants from Cornell University’s A.W. Mellon Foundation fund, Sigma Xi, the Cornell University Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB), and the EEB Betty Miller Francis Fund. The author was supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (Grant No. DGE-1650441). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. This is contribution number 179 from Shoals Marine Laboratory.

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Correspondence to Katherine M. Sirianni.

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Sirianni, K.M. Differential wind dispersal of cladoceran ephippia in a rock pool metacommunity. Aquat Ecol 51, 203–218 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10452-016-9611-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10452-016-9611-2

Keywords

  • Cladocerans
  • Daphnia
  • Diapausing eggs
  • Dispersal
  • Isles of Shoals
  • Metacommunity
  • Moina
  • Rock pools