Field and experimental studies on the combined impacts of cyanobacterial blooms and small algae on crustacean zooplankton in a large, eutrophic, subtropical, Chinese lake

Abstract

Field and experimental studies were conducted to evaluate the combined impacts of cyanobacterial blooms and small algae on seasonal and long-term changes in the abundance and community structure of crustacean zooplankton in a large, eutrophic, Chinese lake, Lake Chaohu. Seasonal changes of the crustacean zooplankton from 22 sampling stations were investigated during September 2002 and August 2003, and 23 species belonging to 20 genera were recorded. Daphnia spp. dominated in spring but disappeared in mid-summer, while Bosmina coregoni and Ceriodaphnia cornuta dominated in summer and autumn. Both maximum cladoceran density (310 ind. l(-1)) and biomass (5.2 mg l(-1)) appeared in autumn. Limnoithona sinensis, Sinocalanus dorrii and Schmackeria inopinus were the main species of copepods. Microcystis spp. were the dominant phytoplankton species and formed dense blooms in the warm seasons. In the laboratory, inhibitory effects of small colonial Microcystis on growth and reproduction of Daphnia carinata were more remarkable than those of large ones, and population size of D. carinata was negatively correlated with density of fresh large colonial Microcystis within a density range of 0-100 mg l(-1) (r = -0.82, P &lt; 0.05). Both field and experimental results suggested that seasonal and long-term changes in the community structure of crustacean zooplankton in the lake were shaped by cyanobacterial blooms and biomass of the small algae, respectively, i.e., colonial and filamentous cyanobacteria contributed to the summer replacement of dominant crustacean zooplankton from large Daphnia spp. to small B. coregoni and C. cornuta, while increased small algae might be responsible for the increased abundance of crustacean zooplankton during the past decades.Field and experimental studies were conducted to evaluate the combined impacts of cyanobacterial blooms and small algae on seasonal and long-term changes in the abundance and community structure of crustacean zooplankton in a large, eutrophic, Chinese lake, Lake Chaohu. Seasonal changes of the crustacean zooplankton from 22 sampling stations were investigated during September 2002 and August 2003, and 23 species belonging to 20 genera were recorded. Daphnia spp. dominated in spring but disappeared in mid-summer, while Bosmina coregoni and Ceriodaphnia cornuta dominated in summer and autumn. Both maximum cladoceran density (310 ind. l(-1)) and biomass (5.2 mg l(-1)) appeared in autumn. Limnoithona sinensis, Sinocalanus dorrii and Schmackeria inopinus were the main species of copepods. Microcystis spp. were the dominant phytoplankton species and formed dense blooms in the warm seasons. In the laboratory, inhibitory effects of small colonial Microcystis on growth and reproduction of Daphnia carinata were more remarkable than those of large ones, and population size of D. carinata was negatively correlated with density of fresh large colonial Microcystis within a density range of 0-100 mg l(-1) (r = -0.82, P < 0.05). Both field and experimental results suggested that seasonal and long-term changes in the community structure of crustacean zooplankton in the lake were shaped by cyanobacterial blooms and biomass of the small algae, respectively, i.e., colonial and filamentous cyanobacteria contributed to the summer replacement of dominant crustacean zooplankton from large Daphnia spp. to small B. coregoni and C. cornuta, while increased small algae might be responsible for the increased abundance of crustacean zooplankton during the past decades

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