Diverging responses to threats across generations in zooplankton

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Abstract

Our understanding on how organisms evolutionarily cope with simultaneously occurring, multiple threats over generations is still elusive. In a long-term experimental study, we therefore exposed clones of a freshwater cladoceran, Daphnia magna, to threats from predation and ultraviolet radiation (UVR) during three consecutive parthenogenetic generations. We show that Daphnia can adapt to different sets of threats within three generations through modifying morphology, swimming behavior, or life-history traits. When faced with predator cues, D. magna responded with reduced body size, whereas exposure to UVR induced behavioral tolerance when again exposed to this threat. Such UVR-tolerant behavior was initially associated with a reduced clutch size, but Daphnia restored the reproductive output gradually through generations. The findings advance our understanding on how those common invertebrates, with a global distribution, are able to persist and rapidly become successful in a changing environment.

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Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Evolutionary Biology

Keywords

  • adaptation, Daphnia magna, multiple threats, predation, transgenerational plasticity, ultraviolet radiation
Original languageEnglish
JournalEcology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2020 Aug 1
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes