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Keywords:

  • diapause;
  • genotype × environment interaction;
  • life-history evolution

Abstract

Theory predicts that the evolution of phenotypic plasticity depends upon cues that indicate environmental change. Predators typically induce plastic responses in prey. However, variation among populations of predators alters the frequency of predation and, possibly, the evolution of plasticity. We compared responses to predator cues in Daphnia ambigua from lakes where alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) either do (anadromous) or do not (landlocked) migrate between marine and freshwater. In ‘anadromous’ lakes, Daphnia are abundant each spring but eliminated by alewives in summer, whereas Daphnia are constantly under the threat of predation in ‘landlocked’ lakes. Daphnia from ‘anadromous’ lakes grew faster, matured earlier and larger, produced more offspring and invested more in sex than Daphnia from landlocked lakes. We observed several significant lake type-by-predator treatment interactions. These interactions, whereby the differences between lakes were greater in predator-conditioned water, agree with theory and argue that Daphnia plasticity has been influenced by variation in alewives.