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Effects of the Distribution of a Toxic Microcystis Bloom on the Small Scale Patchiness of Zooplankton.

Authors
  • Reichwaldt, Elke S1
  • Song, Haihong
  • Ghadouani, Anas
  • 1 Aquatic Ecology and Ecosystem Studies, School of Environmental Systems Engineering, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia, Australia. , (Australia)
Type
Published Article
Journal
PLoS ONE
Publisher
Public Library of Science
Publication Date
2013
Volume
8
Issue
6
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0066674
PMID: 23840516
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Toxic cyanobacterial blooms can strongly affect freshwater food web structures. However, little is known about how the patchy occurrence of blooms within systems affects the spatial distribution of zooplankton communities. We studied this by analysing zooplankton community structures in comparison with the spatially distinct distribution of a toxic Microcystis bloom in a small, shallow, eutrophic lake. While toxic Microcystis was present at all sites, there were large spatial differences in the level of cyanobacterial biomass and in the zooplankton communities; sites with persistently low cyanobacterial biomass displayed a higher biomass of adult Daphnia and higher zooplankton diversity than sites with persistently high cyanobacterial biomass. While wind was the most likely reason for the spatially distinct occurrence of the bloom, our data indicate that it was the differences in cyanobacterial biomass that caused spatial differences in the zooplankton community structures. Overall, our study suggests that even in small systems with extensive blooms 'refuge sites' exist that allow large grazers to persist, which can be an important mechanism for a successful re-establishment of the biodiversity in an ecosystem after periods of cyanobacterial blooms.

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