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Can tropical freshwater zooplankton graze efficiently on cyanobacteria?

Samba Kâ, Juana Mireya Mendoza-Vera, Marc Bouvy, Gisèle Champalbert, Rose N’Gom-Kâ, Marc Pagano
Hydrobiologia 2012 v.679 no.1 pp. 119-138
freshwater, rivers, Moina micrura, Brachionus angularis, Mesocyclops, Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii, grazing, tropics, Anabaena solitaria, Ceriodaphnia, Microcystis aeruginosa, food consumption, zooplankton, Senegal
Zooplankton may at times graze cyanobacteria. However, their top-down effects are considered to be low, particularly in tropical regions dominated by small-size grazers that may be unable to consume efficiently filamentous or colonial species. Recently, cyanobacteria blooms were reported in the Senegal River hydrosystem. We conducted feeding experiments to assess the ability of copepods (Pseudodiaptomus hessei and Mesocyclops ogunnus), cladocerans (Moina micrura and Ceriodaphnia cornuta), and rotifers (Brachionus angularis, B. falcatus, and Keratella sp.) to control different cyanobacteria (Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii, Anabaena solitaria, A. flos-aquae, and Microcystis aeruginosa). None of the zooplankton species ingested M. aeruginosa. Mesocyclops ogunnus did not consume any of the cyanobacteria. Both cladocerans consumed the smallest filaments of cyanobacteria, whereas all the rotifers and P. hessei consumed a broader food-size spectrum. The functional feeding responses suggest that the concentration and size of the filaments are not the sole criteria for food consumption. The high zooplankton community grazing rates, estimated by applying the clearance rates measured in the laboratory to the in situ zooplankton abundance, indicate that grazing by zooplankton potentially constitutes an important controlling factor for the filamentous cyanobacteria in the tropics.