Molecular Mechanisms of phenotypic plasticity: Environment perception, signal transmission and the development of adaptive phenotypes in the freshwater crustacean Daphnia
Phenotypic plasticity describes the ability of an organism to respond to changing environmental conditions by the adaptation of its phenotype. Thereby, organisms can conquer environments with fluctuating conditions as their genotype is geared with adaptive strategies increasing the individual’s fitness. The freshwater crustacean Daphnia reacts highly plastic to a wide variety of environmental cues, by developing adaptive context-dependent phenotypes.
I will present the progress that has been made in deciphering mechanistic underpinnings underlying adaptive strategies in Daphnia. I focus on inducible defence expression as well as environmentally induced diapause. These strategies allow Daphnia to overcome harsh environmental conditions. In this context, causes of climate change negatively affect these adaptive strategies, rendering Daphnia susceptible to anthropogenic environmental challenges