Large-amplitude cycles of Daphnia and its algal prey in enriched environments

E. McCauley, R.M. Nisbet, W.W. Murdoch, A.M. de Roos, William Gurney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

188 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Ecological theory predicts that stable populations should yield to large-amplitude cycles in richer environments1±3. This does not occur in nature. The zooplankton Daphnia and its algal prey in lakes throughout the world illustrate the problem4±6. Experiments show that this system its the theory's assumptions7±9, yet it is not destabilized by enrichment 6. We have tested and rejected four of ive proposed explanations 10. Here, we investigate the fifth mechanism: inedible algae in nutrient-rich lakes suppress cycles by reducing nutrients available to edible algae. We found three novel results in nutrient-rich microcosms from which inedible algae were excluded. First, as predicted by theory, some Daphniaedible algal systems now display large-amplitude predator-prey cycles. Second, in the same environment, other populations are stable, showing only small-amplitude demographic cycles. Stability is induced when Daphnia diverts energy from the immediate production of young. Third, the system exhibits coexisting attractors -a stable equilibrium and large-amplitude cycle. We describe a mechanism that flips the system between these two states.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-657
Number of pages5
JournalNature
Volume402
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 1999

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Keywords

  • daphnia
  • algal prey
  • large-amplitude cycles

Cite this

McCauley, E., Nisbet, R. M., Murdoch, W. W., de Roos, A. M., & Gurney, W. (1999). Large-amplitude cycles of Daphnia and its algal prey in enriched environments. Nature, 402(9), 653-657. https://doi.org/10.1038/45223
McCauley, E. ; Nisbet, R.M. ; Murdoch, W.W. ; de Roos, A.M. ; Gurney, William. / Large-amplitude cycles of Daphnia and its algal prey in enriched environments. In: Nature. 1999 ; Vol. 402, No. 9. pp. 653-657.
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McCauley, E, Nisbet, RM, Murdoch, WW, de Roos, AM & Gurney, W 1999, 'Large-amplitude cycles of Daphnia and its algal prey in enriched environments', Nature, vol. 402, no. 9, pp. 653-657. https://doi.org/10.1038/45223

Large-amplitude cycles of Daphnia and its algal prey in enriched environments. / McCauley, E.; Nisbet, R.M.; Murdoch, W.W.; de Roos, A.M.; Gurney, William.

In: Nature, Vol. 402, No. 9, 19.05.1999, p. 653-657.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - McCauley, E.

AU - Nisbet, R.M.

AU - Murdoch, W.W.

AU - de Roos, A.M.

AU - Gurney, William

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N2 - Ecological theory predicts that stable populations should yield to large-amplitude cycles in richer environments1±3. This does not occur in nature. The zooplankton Daphnia and its algal prey in lakes throughout the world illustrate the problem4±6. Experiments show that this system its the theory's assumptions7±9, yet it is not destabilized by enrichment 6. We have tested and rejected four of ive proposed explanations 10. Here, we investigate the fifth mechanism: inedible algae in nutrient-rich lakes suppress cycles by reducing nutrients available to edible algae. We found three novel results in nutrient-rich microcosms from which inedible algae were excluded. First, as predicted by theory, some Daphniaedible algal systems now display large-amplitude predator-prey cycles. Second, in the same environment, other populations are stable, showing only small-amplitude demographic cycles. Stability is induced when Daphnia diverts energy from the immediate production of young. Third, the system exhibits coexisting attractors -a stable equilibrium and large-amplitude cycle. We describe a mechanism that flips the system between these two states.

AB - Ecological theory predicts that stable populations should yield to large-amplitude cycles in richer environments1±3. This does not occur in nature. The zooplankton Daphnia and its algal prey in lakes throughout the world illustrate the problem4±6. Experiments show that this system its the theory's assumptions7±9, yet it is not destabilized by enrichment 6. We have tested and rejected four of ive proposed explanations 10. Here, we investigate the fifth mechanism: inedible algae in nutrient-rich lakes suppress cycles by reducing nutrients available to edible algae. We found three novel results in nutrient-rich microcosms from which inedible algae were excluded. First, as predicted by theory, some Daphniaedible algal systems now display large-amplitude predator-prey cycles. Second, in the same environment, other populations are stable, showing only small-amplitude demographic cycles. Stability is induced when Daphnia diverts energy from the immediate production of young. Third, the system exhibits coexisting attractors -a stable equilibrium and large-amplitude cycle. We describe a mechanism that flips the system between these two states.

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