Ann. Limnol. - Int. J. Lim.
Volume 39, Number 2, June 2003
|Page(s)||85 - 101|
|Published online||15 March 2009|
Phenotypic plasticity in the green algae Desmodesmus and Scenedesmus with special reference to the induction of defensive morphology
Dept. Environmental Sciences, Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management Group, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 8080, 6700 DD Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Organisms belonging to the green algal genera Desmodesmus and Scenedesmus are characterized by a high degree of flexibility allowing them to be true cosmopolitans and to withstand harsh conditions. The environmental conditions determine which phenotypes are being produced and one of the most dangerous situations for the algae is when the organisms are confronted with strong grazing pressure from numerous zooplankton organisms. An overview is given of several aspect of an induced defense in many non-spiny Scenedesmus and some spiny Desmodesmus that may form typical protective eight-celled colonies to avoid mortality from numerous grazers. The morphological response does seem to be linked with a herbivorous zooplankton chemical cue, rather than to a more general animal excretory product. The grazing activity of small sized grazers is reduced, but not of large Daphnia. However, arguments are given why grazing protection of colonial Scenedesmus is probably more efficient under natural than under carbon/light limited laboratory conditions. Finally, a life-history cycle of Desmodesmus and Scenedesmus is presented in which biological aspects such as the anti-grazer response and sexual reproduction are being included.
Key words: grazing resistance / induced defense / infochemical / kairomones / life cycle
© Université Paul Sabatier, 2003
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