In spring and early summer, a small population of the large-bodied Daphnia pulicaria coexists with a much larger population of the medium-sized hybrid Daphnia galeata × hyalina in the epilimnion of Lake Maarsseveen (The Netherlands). When large shoals of juvenile perch (Perca fluviatilis) appear in the open water, both species start to migrate vertically. Since D. pulicaria has a larger body-size than D. galeata × hyalina, and is therefore competitive dominant over the hybrid, it is unlikely that both species interact via their common food resource, but they react both to fish predation. However, since they differ in size, and therefore in vulnerability for fish predation, both species adopt different strategies. The smaller bodied, and less vulnerable D. galeata × hyalina exhibits diel vertical migration ascending to the surface at dusk, and staying there during the night. In this way, benefiting from the higher temperatures of the surface layers. In contrast, the large-bodied, and more vulnerable D. pulicaria selects the deep cold hypolimnion water layers as refuge against fish predation. In this way it benefits from a safe habitat, free from fish predators, but on the other hand suffers from low water temperatures, which decrease its fitness. It is likely that the relatively higher temperature in the upper water layers serves as a proximate factor for the downward migration of D. pulicaria [KEYWORDS: diel vertical migration, depth selection behaviour, predator avoidance, inducible defences, Daphnia, juvenile fish]
Original languageEnglish
Journal publication date2003

ID: 396091