Evolutionary Ecology

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 477–487 | Cite as

Predator-induced plasticity does not alter the pathway from evolution to ecology among locally adapted populations of Daphnia

  • Michelle Packer
  • Matthew R. Walsh
Original Paper


In the growing field of eco-evolutionary dynamics, evidence for an influence of rapid shifts in phenotype on ecological processes is accumulating, yet, the contributions of phenotypic plasticity versus genetic change to these observed ecological changes are unclear. In one of the best studied ecosystems in terms of eco-evolutionary dynamics, landlocked versus anadromous alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) have caused strong evolutionary divergence in their key zooplankton prey (Daphnia ambigua). We previously showed that such evolutionary differences have cascading ecological effects on consumer-resource dynamics and primary production. Yet, these locally adapted populations of Daphnia also differ in trait plasticity, which may, in turn, modify the pathway from evolution to ecology. Here we compared Daphnia from lakes with landlocked versus anadromous alewife for differences in rates of population growth in the presence and absence of predator cues over the course of a 39-day experiment. We predicted that predator-induced shifts in life history traits would facilitate faster rates of population growth. Contrary to our expectations, predator cue exposure did not alter rates of population growth. We instead found that Daphnia from lakes with landlocked alewife ultimately attained higher population densities (and exhibited faster population growth) when compared with Daphnia from lakes with anadromous alewife. Based on our previous work, these population level responses were unexpected, as Daphnia from lakes with landlocked alewife exhibit slower rates of somatic growth and delayed maturation. We discuss our results in lieu of the known differences in plasticity and how the population growth patterns may be influenced by resource limitation.


Life history evolution Local adaptation Eco-evolutionary dynamics 



We thank Kelsey Biles, Kaitlyn Howell, and Merari Garcia for help in the lab. We thank UTA for funding.

Author contributions

MW designed experiments; MW MP collected data; MW and MP analyzed data; MW and MP wrote paper.

Supplementary material

10682_2017_9891_MOESM1_ESM.docx (46 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 45 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of Texas at ArlingtonArlingtonUSA

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