Colder rotifers grow larger but only in oxygenated waters

Marcin Czarnoleski, Jolanta Ejsmont-Karabin, Michael Angilletta, Jan Kozlowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Why do colder ectotherms grow more slowly but mature at a larger size? Some researchers have argued that oxygen supply and demand play a crucial role in these processes, but many studies conflated the effects of oxygen and temperature. We studied the body sizes of rotifers (Keratella cochlearis) at different depths in 20 European lakes, taking advantage of gradients in oxygen and temperature during summer, when dense, cool waters sink to low depths and become hypoxic. Rotifers were larger in colder waters, but only in the presence of abundant oxygen. In hypoxic waters, rotifers remained small regardless of temperature. We propose that oxygen supply generates a ceiling for maximal possible body size, especially in environments that elevate metabolic demands. Under this condition, any of several processes-developmental plasticity, genetic divergence, size-dependent mortality, or size-dependent selection of microhabitats-could cause a wider range of body sizes in more oxygenated waters, where the maximal possible size exceeds the adaptive size at any temperature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number164
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


  • Bergmann's rule
  • Body size
  • Cell size
  • Keratella cochlearis
  • Lakes
  • Oxygen limitation
  • Poland
  • Rotifers
  • Temperature-size rule
  • Thermal gradient

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Colder rotifers grow larger but only in oxygenated waters'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this