Does Excess Dietary Carbon Affect Respiration of Daphnia?

Oecologia. 2007 May;152(2):191-200. doi: 10.1007/s00442-006-0652-4. Epub 2007 Jan 23.


Like many invertebrate herbivores, Daphnia frequently face diets with excess carbon (C) relative to elements like phosphorus (P), and with limited ability to store C-rich compounds. To cope with this relative surplus of C they may either regulate the net uptake of C or dispose of excess assimilated C via increased release of dissolved organic carbon or CO(2). Here we investigate whether juvenile Daphnia magna use respiration as a means of stoichiometrically regulating excess C. Growth rate and respiration were measured under different algal food qualities (P-replete and P-depleted algae). Growth rate was strongly reduced by P-depleted food, implying a stoichiometric disposal of excess ingested C. Respiration rates of feeding animals were measured after short- (0.5 h), medium- (12 h) and long- (five days) term acclimation to P-limited food. The respiration rates of animals during active feeding were not affected by the acclimation period per se, whereas food quality had a significant effect; respiration rates of feeding animals increased slightly in individuals receiving low-P food under all acclimation regimes. Respiration was also measured on nonfeeding and fasting animals that had been acclimated for five days to P-limited food. Respiration rates of these animals were strongly affected by feeding conditions but not by food quality; feeding individuals had higher respiration rates than those deprived of food, which again had higher respiration than fasting animals. Although animals grown on low-P food had strongly reduced growth and thus were expected to have decreased respiration rates due to reduced growth-related costs, this seems to be canceled out by increased stoichiometric respiration under P-deficiency. These results indicate that D. magna partly releases excess C as CO(2), but other means of stoichiometric regulation most likely add to this.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carbon / metabolism*
  • Chlorophyta
  • Daphnia / growth & development
  • Daphnia / metabolism*
  • Diet*
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Food Deprivation
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Time Factors


  • Carbon