Morphological defences and defence–cost trade‐offs in Daphnia in response to two co-occurring invertebrate predators
2022-05, Octorina, Pelita, Böhm, Alexander, Martin-Creuzburg, Dominik, Straile, Dietmar
Inducible morphological defences are crucial for understanding predator–prey interactions. Such defences have been mostly studied in a single-predator context, ignoring the fact that prey organisms are often exposed to multiple predators. In deep peri-Alpine European lakes, the keystone grazer Daphnia coexists with two cladoceran predators, Bythotrephes longimanus and Leptodora kindtii. Up to now, life history and morphological responses of Daphnia to these two predators have not been analysed systematically. We studied the responses of two life history (age at first reproduction, and offspring production) and five morphological traits (body size, body width, head size, spina size, and eye diameter) of eight Daphnia galeata clones to the presence of Bythotrephes and Leptodora in a common garden experiment. We compared each response trait between treatments using linear mixed models, and investigated the covariation between defence traits and demographic costs (neonate production) for the two predators. Our results show that the responses of Daphnia are predator- and trait-specific. Daphnia developed a typical helmet and a larger eye only in the presence of Bythotrephes, not in the presence of Leptodora. In contrast, both predators induced larger body sizes and longer spines. Age at first reproduction was latest and demographic costs were highest in the Bythotrephes treatment, suggesting that the development of a helmet exceeds the costs of spina elongation. The responses of Daphnia clones revealed a defence-cost trade-off for helmet formation in the Bythotrephes, and for spina elongation in the Leptodora treatment. Hence, despite Bythotrephes and Leptodora being closely related co-occurring predators, Daphnia responds with a unique combination of trait changes and defence-cost trade-offs to the two predators. The presence of predator-specific clonal defence-cost trade-offs suggests that the presence of these invertebrate predators can drive different evolutionary processes in natural zooplankton communities. Disentangling the evolutionary ecology of phenotypic responses of prey species to co-occurring predators will require multi-trait, multi-clone studies of induced antipredator defences.
Large daphniids are keystone species that link fish predation and phytoplankton in trophic cascades
2021, Ogorelec, Ziga, Wunsch, Carsten, Kunzmann, Alessandra Janina, Octorina, Pelita, Isanta-Navarro, Jana
Daphniids act as keystone species in lake ecosystems by controlling phytoplankton biomass and experiencing intense fish predation. However, the importance of single daphniid species as trophic links between phytoplankton and fish remains unclear, especially compared with other zooplankton taxa. To disentangle the role of individual zooplankton taxa in the food web of a large lake, we performed an in-situ mesocosm experiment with natural phytoplankton and zooplankton communities in three treatments with native, invasive or no fish predators, respectively. A large daphniid, Daphnia longispina, was the zooplankter most strongly predated by both fish species, and also had the highest top-down effects on phytoplankton. All other zooplankton taxa, including a small daphniid species, had minor roles in terms of both predation by fish and grazing on phytoplankton. We suggest that daphniid species with large body sizes can strongly link higher and lower trophic levels in lake food webs, and thus function as keystone species in trophic cascades from fish to phytoplankton.