Differentiation in sex investment by clones and populations of Daphnia


* E-mail: tessier@kbs.msu.edu


Dormancy is an ecological strategy by which organisms avoid stressful environments, but it also can have genetic consequences. Many facultative parthenogens shift from asexual to sexual reproduction to enter dormancy. Hence, conditions that favour dormancy are predicted to select for more sex, which should increase clonal diversity. We examined lake populations of Daphnia that face different ecological risks to remaining active year-round, and quantified the extent to which they have differentiated in their investment in dormancy and sex. There was substantial genetic variation among populations and clones for sex induction and production of dormant eggs, and striking evidence of gender specialization. We also observed a positive association between the magnitudes of population-level investment in dormancy and of variance among clones in sex induction. These results document an ecological gradient in dormancy that is manifest as a genetic gradient in clonal variation for the propensity to engage in sex.