How do aquatic organisms and communities change under extreme nutrient enrichment?
We are investigating how functional trait diversity varies in zooplankton and what consequences this variation has on ecosystem functioning. We have found that the functional trait composition of zooplankton communities shifts with eutrophication, as more nitrogen-rich taxa dominate in the most eutrophic lakes (Moody & Wilkinson 2019). Surprisingly, the keystone grazer Daphnia does not vary in abundance with nutrient loading. Daphnia are thought to face a trade-off between P-limited growth in low-nutrient lakes and the costs of excreting excess phosphorus in high-nutrient lakes. Lead by Dr. Moody, we are now investigating trait variation in Daphnia using common garden experiments to understand how local adaptation may allow this keystone grazer to persist in phosphorus-rich lakes.