Laboratory experiments were used to study the sensitivity of both male and female Daphnia magna to a toxic cyanobacterium, Microcystis aeruginosa. Male and female D. magna were fed with M. aeruginosa and a green alga (Scenedesmus obliquus) in different mixtures that included 0%, 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% Microcystis. Growth of both males and females declined with increasing proportion of Microcystis in the diet. Males were slightly less sensitive to Microcystis than females with EC50 for growth inhibition at 72% and 63% Microcystis in the diet, respectively. On monospecific Microcystis diet, mortality rates for males (0.16 d-1) and females (0.17 d-1) were similar. The reproductive rate of females was the most sensitive endpoint with an EC50 of 42% Microcystis in the diet, whereas population growth rates were the least sensitive (EC50 of 74% Microcystis). Microcystis in the diet severely depressed growth and reproduction in Daphnia and poses a severe threat to its survival in which only a switch in reproductive strategy might provide Daphnia a refuge to a Microcystis environment that gradually becomes uninhabitable.
- toxic cyanobacteria
- sex determination