Diel vertical migration of zooplankton is influenced by a variety of factors including predation, food, and temperature. Research has recently shifted from a focus on factors influencing migration to how migration affects nutrient cycling and habitat coupling. Here we evaluate the potential for Daphnia migrations to incorporate metalimnetic productivity in a well-studied northern Wisconsin lake. We use prior studies conducted between 1985 and 1990 and current diel migration data (2008) to compare day and night Daphnia vertical distributions with the depth of the metalimnion (between the thermocline and 1% light depth). Daphnia migrate from a daytime mean residence depth of between about 1.7 and 2.5 m to a nighttime mean residence depth of between 0 and 2.0 m. These migrations are consistent between the prior period and current measurements. Daytime residence depths of Daphnia are rarely deep enough to reach the metalimnion; hence, metalimnetic primary production is unlikely to be an important resource for Daphnia in this system.
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Do Daphnia use metalimnetic organic matter in a north temperate lake? An analysis of vertical migration