Various approaches to modeling the population dynamics and demography of Daphnia have been published. These methods range from the simple egg-ratio method, to mathematically complex models based on partial differential equations and numerically complex individual-based Daphnia population models. The usefulness of these models in unraveling the population dynamics and demography of Daphnia under natural conditions is discussed. Next to this, an extended version of an existing individual-based Daphnia model is documented (Cladosim) and its application to a typical field data set collected in 1995 in Lake Volkerak is shown. To answer the question which factor was limiting Daphnia numbers during the course of the season food level and temperature in the model were varied and results were compared with those obtained for the observed food level and temperature. These analysis showed that in April temperature was limiting while during May–July and September–October food was limiting. In August neither temperature nor food was limiting. Analysis with a set of size-selective mortality scenarios showed that on average the Daphnia population in Lake Volkerak experienced a mild positive size-selective mortality during the year that was analyzed. Birth rates derived with the detailed individual-based model were compared with those derived with the much simpler egg-ratio method. For the conditions as observed in Lake Volkerak in 1995, both methods gave very comparable results, despite sampling intervals of up to four weeks. The same holds under the environmental scenarios. Using the size-selective mortality scenarios it could be shown, however, that under strong mortality of the smaller daphnids, the egg-ratio method severely underestimates the birth rate. The vices and virtues of the new model and potential extensions are discussed [KEYWORDS: individual-based model, egg-ratio method, birth rate, size-selective mortality, food, temperature, Lake Volkerak]
Original languageEnglish
Journal publication date2003

ID: 193904