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PLoS One. 2013 Sep 9;8(9):e73540. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0073540. eCollection 2013.

Clonal variation in growth plasticity within a Bosmina longirostris population: the potential for resistance to toxic cyanobacteria.

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  • 1School of Life Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China.


Many aquatic organisms respond phenotypically, through morphological, behavioral, and physiological plasticity, to environmental changes. The small-size cladoceran Bosminalongirostris, a dominant zooplankter in eutrophic waters, displayed reduced growth rates in response to the presence of a toxic cyanobacterium, Microcystisaeruginosa, in their diets. The magnitude of growth reduction differed among 15 clones recently isolated from a single population. A significant interaction between clone and food type indicated a genetic basis for the difference in growth plasticity. The variation in phenotypic plasticity was visualized by plotting reaction norms with two diets. The resistance of each clone to dietary cyanobacteria was measured as the relative change in growth rates on the "poor" diet compared with the "good" diet. The enhanced resistance to M. aeruginosa in B. longirostris was derived from both the reduced slope of reaction norms and the increased mean growth rates with two diets. The large clonal variation within a B. longirostris population may contribute to local adaptation to toxic cyanobacteria and influence ecosystem function via clonal succession.

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