Alkaline phosphatase (AP) is a potential biomarker for phosphorus (P) limitation in zooplankton. However, knowledge about regulation of AP in this group is limited. In a laboratory acclimation experiment, we investigated changes in body AP concentration for Daphnia magna kept for 6 days at 10, 15, 20 and 25°C and fed algae with 10 different molar C:P ratios (95-660). In the same experiment, we also assessed somatic growth of the animals since phosphorus acquisition is linked to growth processes. Overall, non-linear but significant relationships of AP activity with C:P ratio were observed, but there was a stronger impact of temperature on AP activity than of P limitation. Animals from the lowest temperature treatment had higher normalized AP activity, which suggests the operation of biochemical temperature compensation mechanisms. Body AP activity increased by a factor of 1. 67 for every 10°C decrease in temperature. These results demonstrate that temperature strongly influences AP expression. Therefore, using AP as a P limitation marker in zooplankton needs to consider possible confounding effects of temperature. Both temperature and diet affected somatic growth. The temperature effect on somatic growth, expressed as the Q 10 value, responded non-linearly with C:P, with Q 10 ranging between 1. 9 for lowest food C:P ratio and 1. 4 for the most P-deficient food. The significant interaction between those two variables highlights the importance of studying temperature-dependent changes of growth responses to food quality.
- Compensation mechanisms
- Q value