, Volume 442, Issue 1–3, pp 291–300 | Cite as

Species-specific population-density thresholds in cladocerans?

  • Z. Maciej Gliwicz


The population density of a Daphnia species seems more dependent on properties specific to the species than on those specific to the point in the season, location within a lake basin or the given lake itself. In spite of week-to-week fluctuations, the population density for each of two common European Daphniaspecies was found to be remarkably similar within single lakes (from station to station on a single date, and from date to date at a single station) as well as from lake to lake, regardless of trophic state. All lakes on all dates revealed densities in the range 10–50 ind l−1 for the smaller-bodied D. cucullata and 1–5 ind l−1 for the larger-bodied D. hyalina, in spite of different intensity of reproduction resulting from different food levels (chlorophyll a between 0.2 and 4.2 μg/l). It can be asserted that the population density of each species remains far below the carrying capacity of the habitat K, and does not depend on food levels, which merely set the rate of population increase, while the population density reflects the species' vulnerability to predation by planktivorous fish. The reactive distance (the distance over which a foraging fish can see its prey) in 1+ roach, a dominant planktivore in the lakes studied, has been found to be twice as great for D. hyalina as for D. cucullata, whatever the light intensity. The relative reactive field volume was therefore an order of magnitude greater for the former than for the latter, showing that the densities of the two prey species would be assessed by a foraging roach as equal when, in reality, they differed by an order of magnitude, as they do in various lakes and in various seasons.

The first of the two conclusions is that whatever the growth and reproduction in a population of a cladoceran such as Daphnia, its density would be fixed by mortality induced by fish predation. The second would be, that the difference between the bottom-up and top-down effects in freshwater is more than merely the upward or downward direction along the food web, since the bottom-up effects are about the flow control (the rate of net production, individual growth rate, rate of reproduction) and the top-down about the standing-crop control (biomass, individual body size, population density level).

birth and death rates Daphnia planktivorous fish reactive distance and relative reactive field volume relative prey density 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Z. Maciej Gliwicz
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HydrobiologyUniversity of WarsawWarsawPoland

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