Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10773/23855
Title: Competitive outcome of Daphnia-Simocephalus experimental microcosms: salinity versus priority effects
Author: Loureiro, Cláudia
Pereira, Joana L.
Pedrosa, M. Arminda
Gonçalves, Fernando
Castro, Bruno B.
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Abstract: Competition is a major driving force in freshwaters, especially given the cyclic nature and dynamics of pelagic food webs. Competition is especially important in the initial species assortment during colonization and re-colonization events, which depends strongly on the environmental context. Subtle changes, such as saline intrusion, may disrupt competitive relationships and, thus, influence community composition. Bearing this in mind, our objective was to assess whether low salinity levels (using NaCl as a proxy) alter the competitive outcome (measured as the rate of population biomass increase) of Daphnia-Simocephalus experimental microcosms, taking into account interactions with priority effects (sequential species arrival order). With this approach, we aimed to experimentally demonstrate a putative mechanism of differential species sorting in brackish environments or in freshwaters facing secondary salinization. Experiments considered three salinity levels, regarding NaCl added (0.00, 0.75 and 1.50 g L(-1)), crossed with three competition scenarios (no priority, priority of Daphnia over Simocephalus, and vice-versa). At lower NaCl concentrations (0.00 and 0.75 g L(-1)), Daphnia was a significantly superior competitor, irrespective of the species inoculation order, suggesting negligible priority effects. However, the strong decrease in Daphnia population growth at 1.50 g L(-1) alleviated the competitive pressure on Simocephalus, causing an inversion of the competitive outcome in favour of Simocephalus. The intensity of this inversion depended on the competition scenario. This salinity-mediated disruption of the competitive outcome demonstrates that subtle environmental changes produce indirect effects in key ecological mechanisms, thus altering community composition, which may lead to serious implications in terms of ecosystem functioning (e.g. lake regime shifts due to reduced grazing) and biodiversity.
Peer review: yes
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10773/23855
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0070572
ISSN: 1932-6203
Appears in Collections:CESAM - Artigos
DBio - Artigos

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