Predator-prey relationships within the pelagic community of Neusiedler See
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- Herzig, A. Hydrobiologia (1994) 275: 81. doi:10.1007/BF00026702
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Neusiedler See, a shallow alkaline lake, has become increasingly eutrophic; this enrichment improved the nutritive situation of the herbivorous zooplankton leading to a higher standing stock. A multiple regression analysis of the long-term development of the crustacean plankton indicates that abiotic factors (i.e. wind, temperature) have the most important impact on the community in spring and autumn, biotic factors (i.e. food, predation) during the summer months. Currently an invertebrate (Leptodora kindti) and two planktivorous fish (Pelecus cultratus and Alburnus alburnus) control the population development of Diaphanosoma mongolianum during summer. L. kindti predation acts on immature stages, whereas the fishes consume adult stages. L. kindti densities of 100 to 200 ind. × m-3 affect the prey population to a negligible extent; densities between 300 and 500 ind. × m-3 result in elimination rates of 5% to >40% of the juvenile Diaphanosoma stock. The impacts by the invertebrate predator are pronounced but short-term events. Juvenile and underyearling fish eliminate 4–13% of the zooplankton in the open lake and 5–33% inshore; their predation pressure acts on all younger stages of the crustaceans. Planktivorous fish older than 0 + concentrate on the large food items (adult stages of the crustaceans). A. alburnus is able to consume 6–16% of the zooplankton standing stock during summer. P. cultratus eliminates about 1–49% of D. mongolianum, 1–4% of A. spinosus and 1–31% of L. kindti. From May until August the position of the dominant predator changes, beginning with juvenile fish which are then followed by P. cultratus and then by A. alburnus. Predation by L. kindti is of importance in July and August; at that time it causes suppression of the juveniles of D. mongolianum, but, on the other hand, the older stages of L. kindti are endangered themselves by the predatory impact of planktivorous fish.