Salinity tolerance of diapausing eggs of freshwater zooplankton
1. Many freshwater zooplankton produce diapausing eggs capable of withstanding periods of adverse environmental conditions, such as anoxia, drought and extreme temperature. These eggs may also allow oligostenohaline species to survive increased salinity during periods of tidal flux or evaporation, and here we test the ability of diapause eggs to withstand such conditions. 2. Salinity tolerance may also enable organisms to invade new environments. The increased rate of introduction of non-indigenous species to the Laurentian Great Lakes since 1989, when ballast water exchange regulations (to replace fresh/brackish water at sea with full seawater) were first implemented for transoceanic vessels, has stimulated studies that explore mechanisms of introduction, other than of active animals, in ballast water. One hypothesis proposes that freshwater organisms transported in ballast tanks as diapausing eggs may be partially responsible for the increased rate of species introduction, as these eggs may tolerate a wide array of adverse environmental conditions, including exposure to saline water. 3. We collected ballast sediments from transoceanic vessels entering the Great Lakes, isolated diapausing eggs of three species (Bosmina liederi, Daphnia longiremis and Brachionus calyciflorus), and measured the effect of salinity on hatching rate. In general, exposure to salinity significantly reduced the hatching rate of diapausing eggs. However, as non-indigenous species can establish from a small founding population, it is unclear whether salinity exposure will be effective as a management tool.
Bailey, S. A.; Duggan, I. C.; Van Overdijk, C. D.A.; Johengen, T. H.; Reid, D. F.; and MacIsaac, Hugh J., "Salinity tolerance of diapausing eggs of freshwater zooplankton" (2004). Freshwater Biology, 49, 3, 286-295.