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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2012

Survival, growth and reproduction of Daphnia galeata feeding on single and mixed Pseudomonas and Rhodomonas diets

Wenzel Anja, Bergström Ann-Kristin, Jansson Mats, Vrede Tobias


1. Bacteria can be an important resource for zooplankton production in aquatic food webs, although the degree to which bacteria sustain zooplankton growth and reproduction is not clear. We performed a growth experiment with Daphnia galeata feeding on different ratios of P-replete Pseudomonas and Rhodomonas, ranging from a 100% bacterial to a 100% algal diet. 2. A pure bacterial diet did not support survival, growth or reproduction of D. galeata. While a 20% share of Rhodomonas in the food allowed survival of daphniids, the occurrence of offspring on a 50% algal diet indicated that the threshold for successful reproduction was between those two proportions of algal food. Increasing the proportion of the alga further increased growth and reproductive output, indicating that Rhodomonas was a higher-quality food than Pseudomonas. 3. A subsequent labelling experiment demonstrated that D. galeata incorporated phosphorus from Pseudomonas and Rhodomonas with similar efficiency, whereas carbon was incorporated more efficiently from Pseudomonas than from Rhodomonas. 4. we hypothesise that inadequate levels of essential biochemicals in pure bacterial diets led to decreased Daphnia performance. Concentrations of fatty acids in general, and especially of polyunsaturated fatty acids, were much lower in Pseudomonas than in Rhodomonas. This difference could explain the different growth and reproduction responses, although limitation by other essential biochemicals (e.g. sterols) cannot be ruled out. 5. Hence, where they dominate, bacteria may provide a significant part of the elemental flux to species feeding higher in the food web on the short term. However, the performance of consumers may be constrained by essential biochemicals

Published in

Freshwater Biology
2012, Volume: 57, number: 4, pages: 835-846

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    Fish and Aquacultural Science

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