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Covariation between zooplankton community composition and cyanobacterial community dynamics in Lake Blaarmeersen (Belgium)

van Gremberghe, Ineke, Van Wichelen, Jeroen, Van der Gucht, Katleen, Vanormelingen, Pieter, D'hondt, Sofie, Boutte, Christophe, Wilmotte, Annick, Vyverman, Wim
FEMS microbiology ecology 2008 v.63 no.2 pp. 222-237
Anabaena, Aphanizomenon, Synechococcus, biomass, community structure, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, genes, genotype, growing season, lakes, phytoplankton, ribosomal RNA, winter, zooplankton, Belgium
The cyanobacterial community composition in the mesotrophic Lake Blaarmeersen was determined by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of PCR-amplified 16S rRNA gene fragments during two consecutive years to assess the importance of different classes of explanatory variables (bottom-up and top-down factors, physical variables and phytoplankton) in cyanobacterial community dynamics. The most dominant cyanobacteria in Lake Blaarmeersen were Synechococcus (three genotypes), Limnothrix redekei and Anabaena/Aphanizomenon. Analyses of Similarity revealed that the cyanobacterial community in Lake Blaarmeersen differed significantly between the growing season and the winter season as well as between the epilimnion and hypolimnion during the stratified periods. Mantel tests revealed significant correlations between the DGGE data and bottom-up factors, physical variables, the phytoplankton community composition and, interestingly, the zooplankton community composition. In general, the zooplankton community composition (especially the cladoceran community) was more important in structuring the cyanobacterial community than the total zooplankton biomass. This study shows that grazing zooplankton communities can have a relatively strong impact on the cyanobacterial community dynamics and that this impact can be equally important as bottom-up processes regulated by nutrient concentrations and/or physical variables.