, Volume 191, Issue 1, pp 51–60 | Cite as

Does differential iron supply to algae affect Daphnia life history? An ionome-wide study

  • Punidan D. JeyasinghEmail author
  • Katja Pulkkinen
Physiological ecology – original research


The availability of iron (Fe) varies considerably among diet items, as well as ecosystems. Availability of Fe has also changed due to anthropogenic environmental changes in oceanic as well as inland ecosystems. We know little about its role in the nutrition of ecologically important consumers, particularly in inland ecosystems. Physiological studies in several taxa indicate marked effects of dietary Fe on oogenesis. We predicted that differential Fe supply to algae will impact algal Fe concentration with consequences on the life history of the freshwater grazer, Daphnia magna. We found that algal Fe concentration increased with Fe supply, but did not affect algal growth, indicating that the majority of experimental Fe additions were likely adsorbed to, or stored in algal cells. Regardless, data indicate that algal Fe impacted the reproductive traits (age and size at maturity) but not juvenile growth rate of Daphnia. A subsequent experiment revealed that Fe concentration in eggs was significantly higher than the rest of Daphnia. These results indicate that the concentration of Fe in or on algal cells may vary considerably among ecosystems overlying distinct geological formations differing in Fe, possibly with important implications for zooplankton life histories. Understanding the mechanisms underlying this response is unlikely to be accomplished by a strict focus on Fe because we found correlated shifts in the algal ionome, with concomitant ionome-wide adjustments in Daphnia. Information on ionome-wide responses may be useful in better understanding the responses of biota to changes in the supply of any one element.


Ecological stoichiometry Ionomics Nutrient limitation Nutrient balance concept Reproduction Trace metals Zooplankton 



PDJ thanks KP, Mikko Mönkkönen, and Fulbright Finland for making this work possible—kiitos! We thank P Lind, T Johnson, and N Honkanen for laboratory assistance. Consumable costs were defrayed by Academy of Finland grant # 260704 to Jouni Taskinen, and US National Science Foundation grant #1256867 to PDJ. We are grateful for constructive comments from M Boersma and anonymous reviewers.

Author contribution statement

PDJ and KP conceived, designed, and executed this study and wrote the manuscript. No other person is entitled to authorship.

Supplementary material

442_2019_4482_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (31 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 31 kb)
442_2019_4482_MOESM2_ESM.docx (22.3 mb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 22849 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological and Environmental ScienceUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland
  2. 2.Department of Integrative BiologyOklahoma State UniversityStillwaterUSA

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