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Zooplankton seasonal dynamics in a recently filled mine pit lake: the effect of non-indigenous Daphnia establishment

Balvert, Sheree F., Duggan, Ian C., Hogg, Ian D.
Aquatic ecology 2009 v.43 no.2 pp. 403-413
Brachionus, Daphnia, community structure, lakes, temporal variation, water quality, zooplankton, New Zealand
We examined the temporal and vertical dynamics of zooplankton in Weavers Lake, New Zealand, between October 2004 and October 2005, at a time when it was colonised by a non-indigenous Daphnia species. Zooplankton community composition changed during the study from one of rotifer dominance (e.g. Asplanchna, Polyarthra, Brachionus and Keratella species) to cladoceran (Daphnia dentifera) dominance. Temporal changes in zooplankton community composition were strongly associated with a gradual increase in lake water clarity, and were attributable to the highly efficient filter feeding of D. dentifera. The corresponding reduction in rotifer densities may have resulted from the superior competitive abilities of the newly established Daphnia. As Daphnia were rare inhabitants of New Zealand lakes before 1990, the arrival and rapid spread of the non-indigenous D. dentifera has lead to widespread changes in both water clarity and zooplankton community composition. An apparent lack of mixing in the lake was facilitated by the lake's extremely small surface area:depth ratio. However, we conclude that physical features of the lake had minimal influence on water clarity relative to the invasion of D. dentifera.