Variation in copper effects on kairomone-mediated responses in Daphnia pulicaria

TitleVariation in copper effects on kairomone-mediated responses in Daphnia pulicaria
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsDeMille C.M., Arnott SE, Pyle G.G.
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Pagination264 - 272
KeywordsIntraspecific variation

Abstract Chemical signals play an integral role in many predator–prey relationships but their effectiveness can be altered by environmental conditions. Prey species can detect predator kairomones, which induce anti-predator defenses. An example of this predator–prey relationship exists between Daphnia spp. and Chaoborus spp.; however, when living in water contaminated with low concentrations of copper (Cu) Daphnia can fail to respond to Chaoborus kairomone and, in turn, become more susceptible to predation. This has implications for Daphnia living in regions with Cu contamination, such as areas where mining activity has resulted in increased levels of metals in the surrounding lakes. We examined kairomone-mediated responses of multiple Daphnia pulicaria clones obtained from 8 lakes in Ontario, Canada, in the absence and presence of environmentally-relevant Cu concentrations. Life history traits and morphological anti-predator defenses were assessed using neonates collected from mothers that were exposed to kairomone and Cu treatments. We found that kairomone-mediated responses and Cu-tolerance varied among D. pulicaria clones. Clones exposed to kairomone, in the absence of Cu additions, had diverse responses, including larger neonates, delayed reproduction, or altered brood size relative to no-kairomone controls. These kairomone-induced responses act as antipredator defense strategies against Chaoborus by preventing predation or stabilizing population growth. When exposed to Cu, two clones were able to respond to kairomone, while four clones no longer induced a response to kairomone. This variation in non-lethal effects of Cu on aquatic organisms suggests that toxicity tests should incorporate multiple genotypes and include predator–prey interactions.

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