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Density, parasitism, and sexual reproduction are strongly correlated in lake Daphnia populations
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  • Camden Gowler,
  • Mary Rogalski,
  • Clara Shaw,
  • Katherine Hunsberger,
  • Meghan Duffy
Camden Gowler
University of Michigan
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Mary Rogalski
University of Michigan
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Clara Shaw
Penn State University Park
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Katherine Hunsberger
University of Michigan
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Meghan Duffy
University of Michigan
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Abstract

Many organisms can reproduce both asexually and sexually. For cyclical parthenogens, periods of asexual reproduction are punctuated by bouts of sexual reproduction, and the shift from asexual to sexual reproduction has large impacts on fitness and population dynamics. We studied populations of Daphnia dentifera to determine the amount of investment in sexual reproduction as well as the factors associated with variation in investment in sex. To do so, we tracked host density, infections by nine different parasites, and sexual reproduction in 15 lake populations of D. dentifera for three years. Sexual reproduction was seasonal, with male and ephippial female production beginning as early as late September and generally increasing through November. However, there was substantial variation in the prevalence of sexual individuals across populations, with some populations remaining entirely asexual throughout the study period and others shifting almost entirely to sexual females and males. We found strong relationships between density, prevalence of infection, parasite species richness, and sexual reproduction in these populations. However, strong collinearity between density, parasitism, and sexual reproduction means that further work will be required to disentangle the causal mechanisms underlying these relationships.

Peer review status:ACCEPTED

22 Mar 2021Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
24 Mar 2021Submission Checks Completed
24 Mar 2021Assigned to Editor
25 Mar 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
12 Apr 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
18 Apr 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
03 Jun 20211st Revision Received
04 Jun 2021Submission Checks Completed
04 Jun 2021Assigned to Editor
04 Jun 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
09 Jun 2021Editorial Decision: Accept