The effect of calcium concentration on the calcification of Daphnia magna

Alstad, Nina E. W., Liz Skardal, Dag O. Hessen

Limnol. Oceanogr., 44(8), 1999, 2011-2017 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.1999.44.8.2011

ABSTRACT: Soft waters are characterized by low Ca concentrations, and the distribution and relative success of Ca-demanding invertebrates could be limited by low Ca in extreme softwater localities. A further Ca depletion caused by reversed acidification could thus seriously affect freshwater crustaceans. Experimental studies on the calcification and Ca content of Daphnia magna clearly suggested the potential of a Ca limitation. Saturated calcification was reached at Ca concentrations >0.13 mM. Individuals reared in media with lower Ca concentrations were unable to compensate by increasing the period of postmolt Ca uptake and thus had a lower specific Ca content. Specific Ca content decreased from 4.2% to 1% of dry weight over the range 0.25-0.013 mM Ca. Even at the low Ca concentrations, only 10% of total Ca was reclaimed upon molting, the rest was lost with the old exuviae (~40%) or to the ambient medium (~50%). This incomplete calcification under low ambient Ca concentrations could represent a competitive drawback in Ca-poor waters.

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