Invertebrate herbivores frequently face growth rate constraints due to their high demands for phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N). Temperature is a key modulator of growth rate, yet the interaction between temperature and P limitation on somatic growth rate is scarcely known. To investigate this interaction, we conducted a study on the somatic growth rate (SGR) of the cladoceran Daphnia magna, known to be susceptible to P-limitation. We determined the SGR across a broad range of dietary P content of algae (carbon (C):P ratios (125-790), and at different temperatures (10-25°C). There was a strong impact of both temperature and C:P ratio on the SGR of D. magna, and also a significant interaction between both factors was revealed. The negative effect of dietary C:P on growth rate was reduced with decreased temperature. We found no evidence of P limitation at lowest temperature, suggesting that enzyme kinetics or other measures of food quality overrides the demands for P to RNA and protein synthesis at low temperatures. These findings also indicate an increased risk of P limitation and thus reduced growth efficiency at high temperatures.
- Food quality