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Keywords:

  • Astatic waters;
  • Biodiversity;
  • Diapause;
  • Ephemeral ponds;
  • Life history adaptations

While ubiquitous, temporary waters vary greatly in geographic distribution, origin, size, connectivity, hydroperiod, and biological composition. However, all terminate as active habitats, transitioning into either dryness or ice, only to be restored when conditions improve. Hydroperiod in some temporary habitats is cyclical and predictable, while in others it is sporadic. Although the rotifer communities of temporary waters are subjected to unique selective pressures within their habitats, species share many of the same adaptive responses. Here, we review temporary waters and their rotiferan inhabitants, examining community composition, life history, and evolutionary strategies that allow rotifers to flourish in these fluctuating environments.