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Erik Jeppesen

Lake depth rather than fish planktivory determines cladoceran community structure in Faroese lakes - evidence from contemporary data and sediments

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  • Department of Freshwater Ecology

1. This study describes the environmental conditions and cladoceran community structure of 29 Faroese lakes with special focus on elucidating the impact of fish planktivory. In addition, long-term changes in biological structure of the Faroese Lake Heygsvatn are investigated.

2. Present-day species richness and community structure of cladocerans were identified from pelagial snapshot samples and from samples of surface sediment (0-1 cm). Multivariate statistical methods were applied to explore cladoceran species distribution relative to measured environmental variables. For Lake Heygsvatn, lake development was inferred by cladoceran-based paleolimnological investigations of a 14C-dated sediment core covering the last ca 5700 years.

3. The 29 study lakes were overall shallow, small-sized, oligotrophic and dominated by brown trout (Salmo trutta). Cladoceran species richness was overall higher in the surface sediment samples than in the snapshot samples.

4. Fish abundance was found to be of only minor importance in shaping cladoceran community and body size structure, presumably because of predominance of the less efficient zooplanktivore brown trout.

5. Canonical correspondence analysis showed maximum lake depth (Zmax) to be the only significant variable in explaining the sedimentary cladoceran species (18 cladoceran taxa, two pelagic, 16 benthic) distribution. Multivariate regression trees revealed benthic taxa to dominate in lakes with Zmax < 4.8 m and pelagic taxa to dominate when Zmax was > 4.8 m.

6. Predictive models to infer Zmax were developed using variance weighted-averaging procedures. These were subsequently applied to subfossil cladoceran assemblages identified from a 14C-dated sediment core from Lake Heygsvatn and showed inferred Zmax to correspond well to the present-day lake depth. A recent increase in inferred Zmax may, however, be an artefact induced by, for instance, eutrophication.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFreshwater Biology
Pages (from-to)2124-2142
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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