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Alternative antipredator defences and genetic polymorphism in a pelagic predator–prey system

Nature volume 378, pages 483485 (30 November 1995) | Download Citation

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Abstract

DIEL vertical migration (DVM) of zooplankton is generally considered to be a predator-avoidance strategy: zooplankton migrate to greater depths during the day to reduce their chance of being detected by visual predators (fish)1. Both phenotypic plasticity and interpopulational genetic variability in DVM patterns exist in zooplankton2,3. We used large indoor mesocosms ('plankton towers'4) to study intrapopulational genetic variation for day depth in a Daphnia hyalina X galeata hybrid population. Clones differing in body size also differed in vertical distribution, with the largest clone residing at the greatest depth during the day. A selection experiment in the presence of fish indicates that alternative anti-predator strategies, which involve a complex association between habitat-selection traits and life-history strategies, might be an important factor underlying intrapopulational genetic polymorphism in zooplankton, through a balancing of fitness effects in the presence of visual predators.

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Author information

Author notes

    • Lawrence J. Weider

    Max-Planck-lnstitut für Limnologie, Abteilung Ökophysiologie,Postfach 165, 24302 Plön, Germany

    • Luc De Meester

    Laboratory of Animal Ecology, University of Gent,K. L. Ledeganckstraat 35 9000 Gent, Belgium

    • Luc De Meester
    •  & Ralph Tollrian

    Present addresses: Laboratory of Ecology and Aquaculture, Catholic University of Leuven, Naamsestraat 59, 3000 Leuven, Belgium (L.D.M.);

Affiliations

  1. Zoological Institute, Ludwig-Maximilian Universitat Karlstrasse 2580333 Munchen, Germany (R.T.).

    • Luc De Meester
    • , Lawrence J. Weider
    •  & Ralph Tollrian

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https://doi.org/10.1038/378483a0

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