The 2018 Issue of BioScience
- Vol. 68, No. 3 -

A Forum for Integrating the Life Sciences

Publishing 12 times a year. ISSN 0006-3568.


A young individual of the common, freshwater rotifer Brachionus calyciflorus with long, defensive spines induced by a chemical from the larger and predatory rotifer Asplanchna (photographed alive). The posterolateral spines are almost the length of the body (approximately 0.2 millimeter without spines). This individual is in the normal swimming mode; the anterior, ciliated corona is extended for locomotion and filter feeding, and the articulating posterolateral spines lie parallel to the long axis of the body. Rapid population growth occurs via female parthenogenesis, and intermittent bisexual reproduction produces genetic variation among clones initiated by stem females hatching from fertilized, diapausing eggs in the sediment. Laboratory experiments on clonal populations of this highly polymorphic rotifer show that several environmental and physiological factors control its spine development. Genetic variation within natural populations for the propensity to develop spines allows rapid microevolution in response to seasonal changes in the environment. For more, see the Overview article in this issue by John J. Gilbert. Photograph: John J. Gilbert.

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