Fear and food: Effects of predator-derived chemical cues and stoichiometric food quality on Daphnia
journal contributionposted on 20.02.2020, 10:15 by Alex T.C. Bell, Dennis L. Murray, Clay Prater, Paul C. Frost
While resource quality and predator‐derived chemical cues can each have profound effects on zooplankton populations and their function in ecosystems, the strength and direction of their interactive effects remain unclear. We conducted laboratory experiments to evaluate how stoichiometric food quality (i.e., algal carbon [C] : phosphorus [P] ratios) affects responses of the zooplankter, Daphnia pulicaria, to predator‐derived chemical cues. We compared growth rates, body P content, metabolic rates, life‐history shifts, and survival of differentially P‐nourished Daphnia in the presence and absence of chemical cues derived from fish predators. We found effects of predator cues and/or stoichiometric food quality on all measured traits of Daphnia. Exposure to fish cues led to reduced growth and increased metabolic rates but had little effect on the body %P content of Daphnia. Elevated algal C : P ratios reduced growth and body %P and increased mass‐specific respiration rates. While most of the effects of predator cues and algal C : P ratios of Daphnia were non‐interactive, reduced survival and relatedly reduced population growth rates that resulted from P‐poor food were amplified in the presence of predator‐derived cues. Our results demonstrate that stoichiometric food quality interacts with antipredator responses of Daphnia, but these effects are largely trait dependent and appear connected to animal life‐history evolution. Given the ubiquity of predators and P‐poor food in lake ecosystems, our results highlight the importance of the interactive responses of animals to predator cues and poor nutrition.
Funding was provided to P.C.F. and D.L.M. by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
- Social Sciences
- Geography and Environment