Sarnelle, O. and A. E. Wilson. 2005. Local adaptation of Daphnia pulicaria to toxic cyanobacteria. Limnology and Oceanography 50(5):1565-1570.


We quantified within-species variation in the tolerance of the large, lake-dwelling daphnid, Daphnia pulicaria, to toxic cyanobacteria in the diet. Juvenile growth rates on diets consisting of 100% Ankistrodesmus falcatus (a nutritious green alga) or 100% Microcystis aeruginosa (toxic) were compared for D. pulicaria clones isolated from lakes expected to have low and high levels of bloom-forming cyanobacteria during summer. Growth rates of clones isolated from high-nutrient lakes (range of total phosphorus, 31-235 °g L−1) were higher, and showed less relative inhibition, on the cyanobacterial diet compared to clones isolated from low-nutrient lakes (range of total phosphorus, 9-13 °g L-1). Our results suggest that D. pulicaria populations exposed to high cyanobacterial levels over long periods of time can adapt to being more tolerant of toxic cyanobacteria in the diet.