Population Differentiation In Daphnia Alters Community Assembly In Experimental Ponds
Most studies of community assembly ignore how genetic differentiation within species affects their colonization and extinction. However, genetic differentiation in ecologically relevant traits may be substantial enough to alter the colonization and extinction processes that drive community assembly. We measured significant molecular genetic and quantitative trait differentiation among three Daphnia pulex X pulicaria populations in southwestern Michigan ponds and investigated whether this differentiation could alter the assembly of pond zooplankton communities in experimental mesocosms. In this study, we monitored the invasion success of different D. pulex x pulicaria populations after their introduction into an established zooplankton community. We also monitored the invasion success of a diverse array of zooplankton species into different D. pulex x pulicaria populations. Zooplankton community composition depended on the D. pulex X pulicaria source population. Daphnia pulex X pulicaria from one population failed to invade zooplankton communities, while those from other populations successfully invaded similar communities. If population differentiation in other species plays a role in community assembly similar to that demonstrated in our study, assembly may be more sensitive to evolutionary processes than has been previously generally considered.