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Journal Article

Trade-offs in Daphnia vertical migration strategies


Lampert,  W.
Department Ecophysiology, Max Planck Institute for Limnology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Guisande, C., Duncan, A., & Lampert, W. (1991). Trade-offs in Daphnia vertical migration strategies. Oecologia, 87(3), 357-359. doi:10.1007/BF00634591.

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Planktonic animals performing diel vertical migration (DVM) experience a tradeoff between reduced mortality and reduced reproductive output due to lower food availability in their refuge. Models of DVM as an evolutionarily stable strategy predict that, under certain conditions, strategies of both migration and non-migration can coexist. Vertical profiles of animal abundances during day and night, however, do not allow any discrimination between the behaviour of individuals or subpopulations. We used length-body protein regressions as a measure of the nutritional state of Daphnia to distinguish possible sub-populations differing in their migration strategy. An overwhelming part of the population migrated downwards during the day. However, the few daphnids in the epilimnion during the day had significantly higher protein content than the animals in the deep water, indicating that these daphnids did not migrate randomly but remained in the surface food-rich water all day. This shows that migrating animals gain no metabolic advantage over non-migrating ones.