Life history variation within a parthenogenetic population of Daphnia parvula (Crustacea: Cladocera)
- 1) Department of Oceanography, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1000 Pope Road, 96822, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
- 2) Department of Zoology and Institute of Ecology, University of Georgia, 30602, Athens, Georgia, USA
Evidence for genetically determined life history variability within a population or a species is rare. In this three year experimental examination of a parthenogenetically reproducing population of the planktonic crustacean Daphnia parvula, we found evidence for a succession of clones or groups of clones that exhibited distinctive body size and reproductive differences that were maintained after numerous generations under standardized conditions in the laboratory. The D. parvula population reached maximum density in the fall and maintained relatively high densities through the winter and spring. Isolates from this fall-winter-spring period all had a larger body size at death and higher fecundity when compared with summer isolates under natural food and temperature conditions. These differences could not be accounted for by differences in temperature and food abundance among the seasons. An additional difference in these experiments was a shift in reproductive effort by the summer isolate which produced a higher proportion of its offspring in the first two broods. The shift in life history characteristics and a summer decline of the Daphnia parvula population was correlated with both an increase in inedible and perhaps toxic blue-green algae and an increase in a dipteran predator Chaoborus. Comparison of the survivorship curves for all of the seasonal life history experiments indicated that D. parvula survivorship was not lower during the summer discounting a toxic effect from blue-green algae. Positive population growth on natural food in the laboratory at this time indicated food was not limiting and that predation was the probable cause of the population decline. Laboratory life history experiments under standardized food and temperature conditions were run with D. parvula isolates from the spring and summer plankton. Genetically based differences as determined in these experiments were smaller body size, lower fecundity, smaller brood size, and shorter life span for the summer animals relative to spring animals. Thirty seven percent of the summer animals also reproduced at an earlier age under standardized conditions. The shift in reproductive effort to earlier broods by summer animals rnder natural conditions appeared to be a phenotypic response as the summer isolate did not produce a higher proportion of its offspring in early broods under standardized conditions. When estimates of predatory mortality were added to the life tables of the standardized experiments, the earlier reproduction of some of the summer animals allowed a population increase under a regime of intense predation. Life tables for the spring animals predicted a population decline under these circumstances. Predictable seasonal changes in biotic factors such as predation suggest a mechanism whereby diverse life history patterns with corresponding differences in r may be maintained within a population.
- 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
- 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
- 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
- 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics