Ultraviolet radiation is known to be highly variable in aquatic ecosystems. It has been suggested that UV-exposed organisms may demonstrate enough phenotypic plasticity to maintain the relative fitness of natural populations. Our long-term objective is to determine the potential photoprotective effect of vitamin D3 on Daphnia pulex exposed to acute or chronic UV radiation. Herein we report our initial findings in this endeavor. D. pulex survival and reproduction (fitness) was monitored for 5 d as a proof of concept study. Significantly higher fitness was observed in the D. pulex with D3 than those without (most extreme effects observed were 0% survival in the absence of D3 and 100% with 10 ppm D3 ). Vitamin D3 was isolated from the culture media, the algal food (Pseudokirchneriella), and the D. pulex and quantified using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Vitamin D3 was fluorescently labeled using a phenothiazinium dye and added to cultures of D. pulex. Images demonstrating the uptake of D3 into the tissues and carapace of the D. pulex were acquired. Our initial findings suggest a positive role for D3 in ecosystems as both UV-stressed algae and Daphnia sequester D3 , and D. pulex demonstrate increased fitness in the presence of D3 .
Connelly, S. J., Walling, K., Wilbert, S. A., Catlin, D. M., Monaghan, C. E., Hlynchuk, S., … Cody, J. A. (2015). UV-stressed daphnia pulex increase fitness through uptake of Vitamin D3. PLoS ONE, 10(7). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0131847