ABSTRACT: To estimate the changes in the life history of the rotifer Brachionus plicatilis O.F. Müller under starvation, we carried out an individual culture and determined the effects of periodical food deprivation on its asexual reproductive characteristics such as lifespan, reproductive period, age at first egg and offspring production, and lifetime fecundity (total number of offspring produced in her lifetime). Rotifers were fed for 1-3 h daily, and were then starved until the next day. Control animals were fed throughout their lifespan. Starved rotifers matured and produced their first offspring at an older age than the control animals. The periodical starvation resulted in a decrease in the lifetime fecundity to less than half that of the non-starved control. The reproductive period and lifespan were 2-3 times longer in the starved animals than in the control animals. The negative relationship between lifespan and lifetime fecundity is interpreted as a trade-off in an alternative life-history strategy of rotifers under starved conditions. The great decrease in fecundity and extension of lifespan enables rotifers to compensate to keep the population in equilibrium.
Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 11/2000; 253(2):253-260. · 1.88 Impact Factor