Local adaptation to UV radiation in zooplankton: a behavioral and physiological approach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is recognized as a driving force for phenotypic divergence. Here, we aim at assessing the ability of zooplankton to induce UVR tolerance and disentangle the relative importance of local adaptations behind the expression of such tolerance. Two populations of Daphnia pulex, derived from environments strongly differing in UVR conditions, were exposed to UVR for 70 d to induce production of photo-protective compounds and changes in behavioral responses. We expected greater tolerance to UVR in individuals from the high-UVR (H-U) environment as well as a refuge demand inversely related to the level of pigmentation. However, the complementarity between physiological and behavioral strategies was only observed on animals from the Low-UVR environment (L-U). L-U animals developed photo-protective compounds and decreased their refuge demand when re-exposed to UVR, that is, tolerated more UVR, compared to their control siblings. Conversely, UVR-exposed individuals from the H-U environment even having developed higher levels of photo-protective compounds increased their refuge demand staying deeper in the water column compared to the control animals, likely expressing an evolutionary memory to seek refuge in deeper waters irrespective of the UVR level. Stronger changes were observed in the H-U population compared to the L-U population; thus, our results suggest that although changes in tolerance after UVR exposure were evident for both populations, the strength of the inductions was more related to local adaptation independently of the rearing environment, showing that UVR tolerance is dependent on the evolutionary history of each population.


External organisations
  • Universidad Mayor de San Simon
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Ecology


  • Daphnia, evolutionary memory, local adaptation, photo-protection, ultraviolet radiation, vertical migration
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere03081
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Apr 1
Publication categoryResearch