The population dynamics of D. galeata was studied during the period May–July of 5 successive years in Bautzen Reservoir (Germany). Sampling intervals of 3–4 days and knowledge of the egg–age distribution made it possible to calculate recruitment of the population for each sampling interval. In every year, high Daphnia densities and high Secchi depth readings (clear-water stage) were recorded in spring. In two of the 5 years, Daphnia abundance remained on a high level throughout summer, whereas in the remaining 3 years a midsummer decline of Daphnia was observed. Birth rates declined while the abundance increased in spring in every year but the timing of this decline in relation to abundance and the onset of the clear-water stage revealed no obvious pattern, distinguishing between years with or without a midsummer decline. However, cumulative recruitment did reveal a clear pattern: in years without a midsummer decline, cumulative recruitment increased slowly, but continually, starting from a low level in early May. By contrast, in years with a midsummer decline, recruitment increased strongly during one week in May, starting from a relatively high density level (>30 ind. l-1). This quick increase was followed by extended periods with low recruitment. Consequently, in these years the population was dominated by a strong peak-cohort of about the same age during the clear-water stage. If all members of this cohort, while approaching their maximum life-span, die off during a short time interval, this may have a pronounced effect on the initiation of a midsummer decline. From an extensive literature search, evidence is provided that the findings of this study represent a demographic mechanism which is of general importance for the initiation of a midsummer decline in temperate waters [KEYWORDS: Daphnia galeata, recruitment, reproduction, midsummer decline, clear-water stage]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-46
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - 2003

ID: 397239