, Volume 594, Issue 1, pp 131–139 | Cite as

Starving with a full gut? Effect of suspended particles on the fitness of Daphnia hyalina

  • Christian RellstabEmail author
  • Piet Spaak


Suspended particles are abiotic factors that can affect the abundance of cladocerans such as daphnids. Ultra-oligotrophic Lake Brienz, situated in the front ranges of the Swiss Alps, is dominated by two major inflows that annually transport over 300,000 tons of suspended glacial material into the lake. A laboratory flow-through experiment was performed to test whether these suspended particles have an influence on the fitness of Daphnia hyalina from Lake Brienz, measured as body size, fecundity and juvenile growth rate, especially when they are simultaneously exposed to low food concentrations. Our results show that the concentration of suspended particles present in Lake Brienz does not reduce the fitness of daphnids, even at very low food concentration. In fact, a low concentration of suspended particles increased the fitness. Reduction of fitness could only be observed at a suspended particle concentration of over 25 mg l−1, a level that has never been recorded in Lake Brienz.


Lake Brienz Daphnia hyalina Ultra-oligotrophic Fitness Food Suspended particles 



Sabine Rellstab, Christine Dambone, Piotr Madej and Christoph Tellenbach helped set up and perform the experiment. Alois Zwyssig, David Finger, Mike Sturm and Erwin Grieder assisted in sampling or processing the sediment core. Richard Illi measured POC concentrations of the water samples. Bastian Bommer performed the particle size distribution measurements. Barbara Keller, Justyna Wolinska, Wayne Wurtsbaugh and two anonymous reviewers helped to improve earlier versions of this manuscript. Lisa Shama provided statistical advice. We are very grateful for their help. This study is part of the “Lake Brienz Project” and was financed by Eawag, the canton of Berne, KWO Grimselpower, BUWAL and regional communities.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Eawag, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and TechnologyDübendorfSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of Integrative Biology, ETH ZürichZürichSwitzerland

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