FLEEING PREDATION: THE EFFECT OF COPPER EXPOSURE ON INDUCIBLE ANTIPREDATOR DEFENSES IN DAPHNIA PULICARIA CLONES FROM A HISTORICALLY METAL CONTAMINATED LAKE
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Antipredator defenses are ubiquitous in aquatic ecosystems. In the widely studied Chaoborus-Daphnia predator-prey system, Daphnia elicit a variety of phenotypically plastic responses to Chaoborus including: morphological, life history, and behavioral responses. While these inducible defenses benefit the prey, metal contaminants have been shown to interfere with chemosensory functions, thereby inhibiting antipredator defenses and decreasing survivorship. However, in lakes with a history of metal contamination, such as Kelly Lake in Sudbury, Ontario, there is evidence to suggest that Daphnia may have adapted to high, ambient copper concentrations. Using seven distinct Daphnia clones that were hatched from resting eggs from Kelly Lake, we examined morphological and life history traits when clones were exposed to either a nominal concentration of copper, kairomone, or a combination of both. As expected, clones displayed a variety of inducible responses in both kairomone-control and kairomone-copper treatments, which was attributed to genetic variability. Expected trade-offs in life history traits were not always observed, suggesting that inducible traits may be coupled. Furthermore, in contradiction to life history theory, one clone exhibited both increased somatic growth and increased reproductive output, indicating that clones likely adopted adaptive strategies to stressors rather than elicitng trade-offs in traditional traits. Our results indicate that environmentally relevant copper concentrations do not inhibit the induction of antipredator defenses in Daphnia from Kelly Lake, and we conclude that Kelly Lake Daphnia have developed an adaptive tolerance to copper. Adaptation to copper contamination may have implications for resilience in natural Kelly Lake populations.