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A sterol-mediated gleaner-opportunist trade-off underlies the evolution of grazer resistance to cyanobacteria

Citation

Isanta-Navarro, Jana; Klauschies, Toni; Wacker, Alexander; Martin-Creuzburg, Dominik (2022), A sterol-mediated gleaner-opportunist trade-off underlies the evolution of grazer resistance to cyanobacteria, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.bg79cnpbw

Abstract

The human-caused proliferation of cyanobacteria severely impacts consumers in freshwater ecosystems. Toxicity is often singled out as the sole trait to which consumers can adapt, even though cyanobacteria are not necessarily toxic and the lack of nutritionally critical sterols in cyanobacteria is known to impair consumers. We studied the relative significance of toxicity and dietary sterol deficiency in driving the evolution of grazer resistance to cyanobacteria in a large lake with a well-documented history of eutrophication and oligotrophication. Resurrecting decades-old Daphnia genotypes from the sediment allowed us to show that the evolution and subsequent loss of grazer resistance to cyanobacteria involved an adaptation to changes in both toxicity and dietary sterol availability. The adaptation of Daphnia to changes in cyanobacteria abundance revealed a sterol-mediated gleaner-opportunist trade-off. Genotypes from peak-eutrophic periods showed a higher affinity for dietary sterols at the cost of a lower maximum growth rate, whereas genotypes from more oligotrophic periods showed a lower affinity for dietary sterols in favor of a higher maximum growth rate. Our data corroborate the significance of sterols as limiting nutrients in aquatic food webs and highlight the applicability of the gleaner-opportunist trade-off for reconstructing eco-evolutionary processes. The human-caused proliferation of cyanobacteria severely impacts consumers in freshwater ecosystems. Toxicity is often singled out as the sole trait to which consumers can adapt, even though cyanobacteria are not necessarily toxic and the lack of nutritionally critical sterols in cyanobacteria is known to impair consumers. We studied the relative significance of toxicity and dietary sterol deficiency in driving the evolution of grazer resistance to cyanobacteria in a large lake with a well-documented history of eutrophication and oligotrophication. Resurrecting decades-old Daphnia genotypes from the sediment allowed us to show that the evolution and subsequent loss of grazer resistance to cyanobacteria involved an adaptation to changes in both toxicity and dietary sterol availability. The adaptation of Daphnia to changes in cyanobacteria abundance revealed a sterol-mediated gleaner-opportunist trade-off. Genotypes from peak-eutrophic periods showed a higher affinity for dietary sterols at the cost of a lower maximum growth rate, whereas genotypes from more oligotrophic periods showed a lower affinity for dietary sterols in favor of a higher maximum growth rate. Our data corroborate the significance of sterols as limiting nutrients in aquatic food webs and highlight the applicability of the gleaner-opportunist trade-off for reconstructing eco-evolutionary processes.

Usage Notes

All data from Figure One are derived from the long-term monitoring program of the International Commission for the Protection of Lake Constance (IGKB). While the authors have the permission to use and publish the data, we do not have the right to upload or share them. Please contact the IGKB for acquiring the data. 

Funding

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Award: 298726046/GRK2272

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Award: GA 401/26-2

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Award: WA 2445/10-1