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Daphnia magna fitness during low food supply under different water temperature and brownification scenarios

Andrea Gall, Martin J. Kainz, Serena Rasconi
  • Andrea Gall
    University of Vienna, Department of Limnology and Oceanography, Austria
  • Martin J. Kainz
    WasserCluster Lunz, Austria


Much of our current knowledge about non-limiting dietary carbon supply for herbivorous zooplankton is based on experimental evidence and typically conducted at ~1 mg C L-1 and ~20°C. Here we ask how low supply of dietary carbon affects somatic growth, reproduction, and survival of Daphnia magna and test effects of higher water temperature (+3 °C relative to ambient) and brownification (3X higher than natural water color; both predicted effects of climate change) during fall cooling. We predicted that even at very low carbon supply (~5µg C L-1), higher water temperature and brownification will allow D. magna to increase its fitness. Neonates (<24 h old) were incubated with lake seston for 4 weeks (October-November 2013) in experimental bottles submerged in outdoor mesocosms to explore effects of warmer and darker water. Higher temperature and brownification did not significantly affect food quality, as assessed by its fatty acid composition. Daphnia exposed to both increased temperature and brownification had highest somatic growth and were the only that reproduced, and higher temperature caused the highest Daphnia survival success. These results suggest that even under low temperature and thus lower physiological activity, low food quantity is more important than its quality for D. magna fitness.


Daphnia magna; diet quantity; dietary fatty acids; brownification; climate change.

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Submitted: 2016-02-12 16:46:49
Published: 2016-11-07 00:00:00
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Copyright (c) 2016 Andrea Gall, Martin J. Kainz, Serena Rasconi

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