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Fitness cost from fluctuating ultraviolet radiation in Daphnia magna

Cite this dataset

Stábile, Franca; Brőnmark, Christer; Hansson, Lars-Anders; Lee, Marcus (2021). Fitness cost from fluctuating ultraviolet radiation in Daphnia magna [Dataset]. Dryad.


Solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is an important environmental threat for organisms in aquatic systems, but its temporally variable nature makes the understanding of its effects ambiguous. The aim of our study was to assess potential fitness costs associated with fluctuating UVR in the aquatic zooplankter Daphnia magna. We investigated individual survival, reproduction and behaviour when exposed to different UVR treatments. Individuals exposed to fluctuating UVR, resembling natural variations in cloud cover, had the lowest fitness (measured as the number of offspring produced during their lifespan). In contrast, individuals exposed to the same, but constant UVR dose, had similar fitness as control individuals (not exposed to UVR), but they showed a significant reduction in daily movement. The re-occurring threat response to the fluctuating UVR treatment thus had strong fitness costs for D. magna, and we found no evidence for plastic behavioural responses when continually being exposed to UVR, despite the regular, predictable exposure schedule. In a broader context, our results imply that depending on how variable a stressor is in nature, populations may respond with alternative strategies, a framework that could promote rapid population differentiation and local adaptation.

Usage notes

Data of the study and a ReadMe file is provided, besides scripts to perform the graphs and data analysis. 


Comisión Sectorial de Investigación Científica

Royal Physiographic Society of Lund

Swedish Research Council, Award: 2016-03552