The influence of Myriophyllum verticillatum and artificial plants on some life history parameters of Daphnia magna

S. Cerbin, E. Van Donk, R.D. Gulati

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    Submerged macrophytes are known to serve as refuge for zooplankton but also seem to suppress the zooplankton growth. Thus, there is a conflict between the positive and negative role of macrophytes for zooplankton. We tested the influence of physical structure using artificial macrophytes, chemicals released by a macrophyte (Myriophyllum verticillatum), as well as the combined effects of these two factors on the life history of Daphnia magna. Daphnids matured at a smaller size and produced fewer eggs but larger individual offspring in the presence of artificial and real plants. Thus, under conditions with plants, we observed a trade off between number of eggs produced and the individual size of the offspring. Daphnids grown in the presence of exudates without plants were larger at maturity and showed no reduction in clutch size as compared with the control. We suggest that the macrophytes (real and artificial) negatively affected the daphnids in two ways: (1) food particles were settling down faster on the plant structures and this reduced the available food for Daphnia, (2) the plant structures were obstacles for the daphnids causing them to spent more energy during swimming. Both effects resulted in a reduced somatic growth, whereas the increased individual offspring size was probably a response to the reduced food level. Daphnia was not negatively affected by Myriophyllum exudates.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)263-271
    JournalAquatic Ecology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


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