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How important are trophic state, macrophyte and fish population effects on cladoceran community? A study in Lake Erhai

Liu, Guimin, Liu, Zhengwen, Gu, Binhe, Smoak, Joseph M., Zhang, Zhuo
Hydrobiologia 2014 v.736 no.1 pp. 189-204
Daphnia, body size, community structure, ecosystems, eutrophication, fish, lakes, microfossils, plateaus, predation, sediments, temporal variation, China
Environmental controls on cladoceran community structure in lake ecosystems are complex and may involve many environmental parameters including trophic state and fish populations. In Lake Erhai, a plateau lake located in southwest China, it was hypothesized that a combination of lake eutrophication and planktivorous fish introduction would increase the abundance of cladoceran, while also decreasing cladoceran size. To test this hypothesis, we examined temporal changes in cladoceran microfossils in the sediments of Lake Erhai over the past century. The influence of changing macrophyte coverage within the littoral region of the lake was also considered. Results demonstrated that cladoceran abundance (measured as flux of cladoceran fossils in the sediments) increased markedly accompanying eutrophication of the lake. In addition, there was a shift in the dominant cladoceran species from those species that prefer oligotrophic conditions to those that prefer mesotrophic and eutrophic conditions. A reduction in the ephippium length of Daphnia spp. was observed and attributed to the introduction of the planktivorous fish Neosalanx taihuensis. Our findings indicated that eutrophication and fish introduction were the main controls affecting cladoceran community structure during the recent decades, and predation by planktivorous fish had an important impact on Daphnia body size.