Recent shifts in the crustacean zooplankton community of Lake Huron

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Abstract:

Cladoceran populations in the open waters of Lake Huron declined abruptly in 2003 and have since remained at historically low levels. The two dominant cladocerans, Daphnia mendotae and Bosmina longirostris, have been nearly extirpated from the northern region of the lake and are present in only slightly greater numbers in the south. Average nonpredatory cladoceran biomass in the lake has declined over 90% between 1998–2002 and 2003–2006. In addition, historically unprecedented declines in cyclopoid copepods were seen in the lake in 2005. These changes have occurred against the backdrop of declining nutrient levels in the lake and have coincided closely with declines in the amphipod Diporeia. We speculate that a combination of reduced primary production in the open waters and intensified planktivory due to the continuing disappearance of Diporeia has accounted for the losses in crustacean biomass seen in recent years.

Les populations de cladocères dans les eaux du large du lac Huron ont décru abruptement en 2003 et sont demeurées à des densités historiquement basses. Les deux cladocères dominants, Daphnia mendotae et Bosmina longirostris, ont été presque extirpés de la région nordique du lac et sont présents en nombres à peine plus élevés dans le sud. La biomasse moyenne des cladocères non prédateurs dans le lac a diminué de plus de 90% entre 1998–2002 et 2003–2006. De plus, il s’est produit des déclins jamais vus chez les copépodes cyclopoïdes dans le lac en 2005. Ces changements sont survenus dans des conditions de diminution des nutriments dans le lac et ont coïncidé étroitement avec les déclins de l’amphipode Diporeia. Nous avançons l’hypothèse selon laquelle une combinaison de production primaire réduite dans les eaux libres et de planctonophagie accrue causée par la disparition persistante de Diporeia explique les pertes de biomasses des crustacés observées ces dernières années.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2009

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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