Predator-released compounds, ambient temperature and competitive exclusion among differently sized Daphnia species

J. Vijverberg, Matthijs Vos

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    1. We studied the effects of fish water and temperature on mechanisms of competitive exclusion among two Daphnia species in flow-through microcosms. The large-bodied D. pulicaria outcompeted the medium sized D. galeata × hyalina in fish water, but not in the control treatment. Daphnia galeata × hyalina was competitively displaced 36 days earlier at 18 °C than at 12 °C. 2. It is likely that the high phosphorus content of fish water increased the nutritional value of detrital seston particles by stimulating bacterial growth. Daphnia pulicaria was presumably better able to use these as food and hence showed a more rapid somatic growth than its competitor. This led to very high density of D. pulicaria in fish water, but not in the controls. The elevated D. pulicaria density coincided with high mortality and reduced fecundity in D. galeata × hyalina, resulting in c 3. It is clear that the daphnids competed for a limiting resource, as grazing caused a strong decrease in their seston food concentration. However, interference may also have played a role, as earlier studies have shown larger Daphnia species to be dominant in this respect. The high density of large-bodied D. pulicaria in fish water may have had an allelopathic effect on the hybrid. Our data are inconclusive with respect to whether the reached seston concentration was below the threshold resourc 4. Our results do clearly show that fish-released compounds mediated competitive exclusion among zooplankton species and that such displacement occurred at a greatly enhanced rate at an elevated temperature. Fish may thus not only structure zooplankton communities directly through size-selective predation, but also indirectly through the compounds they release. [KEYWORDS: density dependence ; detritus ; exploitative competition ; interference competition nutrient cycling]
    Originele taal-2Engels
    Pagina's (van-tot)756-767
    TijdschriftFreshwater Biology
    Nummer van het tijdschrift4
    StatusGepubliceerd - 2006


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