, Volume 568, Issue 1, pp 187–205 | Cite as

Inter-genotype variation in reproductive response to crowding among Daphnia pulex

  • Jay M. Fitzsimmons
  • David J. InnesEmail author
Primary Research Paper


Crowding is known to have a major influence on reproduction in the freshwater microcrustacean Daphnia pulex. We analyzed reproductive output of six different D. pulex genotypes under two different density regimes in the laboratory. Four of these genotypes reproduce via obligate parthenogenesis, allowing thorough analysis of the life history strategies of some asexual lines. Among 30,109 neonate offspring and 1041 resting egg ephippia collected, several trends were evident. Crowding induced increased resting egg production and reduced neonate offspring production among all genotypes. Offspring sex ratios grew more male-biased with maternal age. The extent, but not direction, of each of these trends varied among genotypes. Offspring sex ratios, and the very direction in which they changed in response to crowding, differed significantly among genotypes with some genotypes producing more and others fewer males in response to crowding. Obligately parthenogenetic genotypes seemed to respond to the crowding stimulus in similar ways as the facultatively parthenogenetic genotypes, as expected from the sexual origins of their genomes. The inter-genotype variation in life-history traits observed in this and other investigations calls into question the common practice of extrapolating results from a single Daphnia genotype to an entire species. Our findings are considered in the context of other research in the field of environmental influences on Daphnia reproduction with a review of representative literature.


Daphnia pulex crowding stress reproduction offspring sex ratio inter-genotype variation maternal age 


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© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of WindsorWindsorCanada
  2. 2.Department of BiologyMemorial University of NewfoundlandSt. John’sCanada

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