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Published online by Cambridge University Press: 16 October 2014
The studies of differences in life history and suitability of both water temperatures and trophic levels among rotifer sibling species improve our understanding of speciation, sibling species coexistence and possible niche differentiation over space and time, and consequences for the functioning of ecosystems induced by climate change and eutrophication. We collected Brachionus calyciflorus from Lake Baixiang and Lake Kongque, two tropical shallow lakes, in Xishuangbanna city, Yunnan, China, clonally cultured them in laboratory, and found that the B. calyciflorus complex contains two sibling species named sibling species BNA13 and BNB3 by phylogenetic analysis, and investigated the life-table parameters of the two sibling species BNA13 and BNB3 at four temperatures (16, 20, 24 and 28°C) and four algal densities (0.5, 1.0, 2.0 and 4.0×106 cells.mL−1). The results showed that the responses to increasing temperature and algal density for each of the life-table parameters differed with rotifer sibling species. Sibling species, temperature, algal density and their interactions almost all significantly affected the durations of juvenile period, embryonic development, reproductive period, post-reproductive period, mean lifespan, net reproductive rate, generation time and intrinsic rate of population growth. Sibling species significantly affected the age-specific survivorship. Temperature, algal density and their interaction and the interaction of sibling species and temperature significantly affected the age-specific fecundity. Regardless of the effects of temperature and algal density, the durations of juvenile period, embryonic development, reproductive period, post-reproductive period and mean lifespan, age-specific survivorship, net reproductive rate and generation time of the B. calyciflorus sibling species BNA13 were greater than those of BNB3, but the intrinsic rate of population growth of BNA13 was lower than those of BNB3. This suggests that the two B. calyciflorus sibling species adopted variable life history strategies, low population growth and high survivorship for sibling species BNA13, and high population growth and low survivorship for sibling species BNB3. Both the intrinsic rates of population growth of BNA13 and BNB3 were the highest at 28°C and 4.0×106 cells.mL−1 algal density, indicating that some adaptations of the B. calyciflorus sibling species BNA13 and BNB3 in tropical shallow lakes to water temperatures and trophic levels were similar, and they have the potential for coexistence in single waterbody of higher temperature and higher trophic level.
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