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Journal Articles Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences Year : 2020

Dopamine mediates life-history responses to food abundance in Daphnia

Semona Issa
  • Function : Author
Tomasz Maciej Ciesielski
  • Function : Author
Kristine Vike-Jonas
  • Function : Author
Alexandros Asimakopoulos
  • Function : Author
Veerle Jaspers
  • Function : Author
Sigurd Einum
  • Function : Author


Expression of adaptive reaction norms of life-history traits to spatio-temporal variation in food availability is crucial for individual fitness. Yet little is known about the neural signalling mechanisms underlying these reaction norms. Previous studies suggest a role for the dopamine system in regulating behavioural and morphological responses to food across a wide range of taxa. We tested whether this neural signalling system also regulates life-history reaction norms by exposing the zooplankton Daphnia magna to both dopamine and the dopamine reuptake inhibitor bupropion, an antidepressant that enters aquatic environments via various pathways. We recorded a range of life-history traits across two food levels. Both treatments induced changes to the life-history reaction norm slopes. These were due to the effects of the treatments being more pronounced at restricted food ration, where controls had lower somatic growth rates, higher age and larger size at maturation. This translated into a higher population growth rate ( r ) of dopamine and bupropion treatments when food was restricted. Our findings show that the dopamine system is an important regulatory mechanism underlying life-history trait responses to food abundance and that bupropion can strongly influence the life history of aquatic species such as D. magna . We discuss why D. magna do not evolve towards higher endogenous dopamine levels despite the apparent fitness benefits.

Dates and versions

hal-03224221 , version 1 (11-05-2021)



Semona Issa, Marlène Gamelon, Tomasz Maciej Ciesielski, Kristine Vike-Jonas, Alexandros Asimakopoulos, et al.. Dopamine mediates life-history responses to food abundance in Daphnia. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2020, 287 (1930), pp.20201069. ⟨10.1098/rspb.2020.1069⟩. ⟨hal-03224221⟩
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