Inducible colony formation within the Scenedesmaceae: adaptive responses to infochemicals from two different herbivore taxa

A.M. Verschoor, I. Van der Stap, N.R. Helmsing, M. Lürling, E. Van Donk

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We studied the occurrence of colony formation within 40 different strains of Scenedesmaceae (Chlorococcales, Chlorophyta) in response to grazing-released infochemicals from the herbivorous zooplankters Brachionus calyciflorus Pallas (Rotifera) and Daphnia magna Strauss (Cladocera). With the exception of two strains, all strains showed similar responses to both B. calyciflorus and D. magna infochemicals, either no response or inducible colony formation. Colony size was found to increase with B. calyciflorus infochemical concentration and could be described by a sigmoid function. The increase in colony size was more pronounced in the Scenedesmus species tested than in Desmodesmus species, which was probably due to higher threshold infochemical concentrations for colony induction in Desmodesmus. Therefore, the adaptivity of colony formation to the herbivory threat only holds above the threshold concentration for colony induction and as long as maximum colony size has not been attained. Taking this into account, our results suggest that inducible colony formation is a common adaptive response of many Scenedesmaceae to the threat of herbivory. [KEYWORDS: Brachionus calyciflorus; Daphnia magna; Desmodesmus; herbivory; inducible defences; infochemicals ; Scenedesmus]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)808-814
JournalJournal of Phycology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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