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Bird feet morphology drives the dispersal of rotifers and microcrustaceans in a Neotropical temporary pond

de Morais Junior, Cláudio Simões, Diniz, Leidiane Pereira, Sousa, Francisco Diogo Rocha, Gonçalves-Souza, Thiago, Elmoor-Loureiro, Lourdes Maria Abdu, de Melo Júnior, Mauro
Aquatic sciences 2019 v.81 no.4 pp. 69
Neotropics, Rotifera, animal morphology, birds, drought, eggs, feet, laboratory experimentation, models, sediments, species dispersal, species richness, zooplankton
The present study aimed to determine zooplankton diversity and composition through a laboratory simulation of dispersal by morphologically different birds’ feet (large, small and webbed anisodactylous feet) and by comparing them between different water accumulation phases. We hypothesized that large anisodactylous birds, because of their larger size, can disperse a higher number of species. A laboratory experiment with zooplankton dispersal simulation by birds’ feet was carried out, using dry sediments collected at different past phases of water accumulation in a temporary pond, which represent the flood (upper egg bank) and drought (lower egg bank), intending to evaluate differences in species richness between these phases. The lower egg bank showed higher species richness (42 species) while the samples from upper egg banks presented almost the same number of species (35 or 36 at each one). The number of eggs carried on each footprint model (treatment) was different, and it was higher for large anisodactyl feet with 46 species, supporting the hypothesis of the study. Furthermore, the species compositions carried by footprint models were different from one other. In addition, some species were specific from each footprint model. We conclude that birds can disperse a large number of dormant zooplankton, acting in the dissemination of local species.