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During a short period of the year, Daphnia may perform a phenotypically induced diel vertical migration. For this to happen, light-induced swimming reactions must be enhanced both at dawn and at dusk. Enhanced swimming in response to light intensity increase can be elicited by fish-associated kairomone in the laboratory, if food is sufficiently available. However, during the light change at dusk the Daphnia are still in the hypolimnion, where no fish kairomone is present and both temperature and food availability is low. Still, what goes down must come up. This raises questions about how Daphnia tunes its light-induced swimming behaviour to prevailing conditions such that a normal diel vertical migration can be performed. We investigated the symmetry in behavioural mechanism underlying these diel vertical migrations in the hybrid Daphnia galeata × hyalina (Cladocera; Crustacea), with special interest for the environmental cues that are known to affect swimming in response to light increase. That is, we tested whether fish- associated kairomone, food availability, and temperature affected both swimming in response to light intensity increase and decrease similarly. We quantified swimming behaviour during a sequentially increased rate of light change. Vertical displacement velocity was measured and proved to be linearly related to the rate of the light change. The slope (PC) of the function depends on the value of the factors kairomone concentration, food availability, and temperature. The changes of the PC with kairomone concentration and with temperature were similar both at light intensity increases and decreases. The PC also increased with food concentration, although during light increases in a different way from during light intensity decreases. Low food availability inhibited swimming in response to light intensity increase, but enhanced swimming in response to light intensity decrease. Hence, ascent from the deep water layers with low food concentration at dusk is facilitated. These causal relations are part of a proximate decision-making mechanism which may help the individual Daphnia to tune migration to predation intensity and food availability [KEYWORDS: predation avoidance; diel vertical migration; behavioural mechanism; phototaxis; zooplankton]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-307
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - 2003

ID: 188122