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Revista chilena de historia natural

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MARTINEZ, GINGER  and  MONTECINO, VIVIAN. Competition in Cladocera: implications of the trophic resources use overlap. Rev. chil. hist. nat. [online]. 2000, vol.73, n.4, pp.787-795. ISSN 0716-078X.

Although numerous evidence reveals the use of different feeding strategies among cladocerans, the impact of trophic niche overlap on their patterns of coexistence has been underestimated due to the classical description of passive feeding behavior. Under microcosm conditions, paired experiments of population dynamics were conducted for the cladocerans Moina micrura (Moinidae) and Ceriodaphnia dubia (Daphnidae), specialists on the resources Chlorella sp. and Oocystis sp. (Chlorococcales) respectively, and for the generalist species Daphnia ambigua (Daphnidae), during 35 - 45 days. While, the specialists M. micrura and C. dubia did not show evidences of competition, their presence lead to a significant decrease in the density of the generalist D. ambigua and in some cases even led to extinction. Although the generalist qualitatively affected the dynamics of each specialist, it did not affect their density, thus resulting in an asymmetrical interaction among each specialist with the generalist species. These results demonstrate that the feeding behavior and resource use overlap should be determinant conditions in the composition of cladoceran assemblages

Keywords : interspecific competition; feeding strategies; trophic niche; cladocerans.

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