In two independent experiments, we compared: (1) water depth selection (and accompanying temperature selection) by male and female Daphnia magna under different kinds of environmental stress, including the presence of filamentous cyanobacteria, the risk of predation from fish, and the presence of toxic compounds; and (2) sex-dependent production of heat shock proteins (HSP60, 70, and 90) in response to a sudden change in temperature. Male D. magna selected deep water strata, which offer a relatively stable environment, and thereby avoided the threat of predation and the presence of toxic compounds in surface waters. Correlated with this behavior, males reduce their molecular defenses against stress, such as the production of heat shock proteins (HSPs), and do not maintain the physiological machinery that triggers an increase in HSP levels in response to stress. In contrast, female D. magna actively select habitats that offer optimal conditions for growth and production of offspring. Consequently, females are exposed to variable environmental conditions that may be associated with increased stress. To permit survival in these different habitats, D. magna females require molecular mechanisms to protect their cells from rapid changes in stress levels. Thus, they maintain high constitutive levels of the heat shock proteins from HSP 60, 70, and 90 families, and they have the potential to further enhance the production of the majority of these proteins under stress conditions. The results of this study indicate that the separate habitats selected by male and female D. magna result in different patterns of HSP production, leading us to hypothesize that that male and female Daphnia magna adopt different strategies to maximize the fitness of the species.
- Biotic and abiotic stress
- Daphnia magna
- Heat Shock Proteins (HSPs)
- SDS polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE)
- Western blot
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics