Seasonality of planktonic ciliated protozoa in 20 subtropical Florida lakes of varying trophic state
The planktonic ciliate populations of 20 Florida lakes ranging from oligotrophic to hypereutrophic were examined monthly for one year. Oligotrophic lakes displayed abundance peaks during fall mixis and biomass peaks in late winter and fall. Mesotrophic systems exhibited a spring-fall bimodality in ciliate abundance with a biomass maxima occurring during fall. Eutrophic/hypereutrophic lakes had pronounced abundance and biomass maxima during summer, with the large ciliates Plagiopyla nasuta and Paramecium trichium often contributing heavily to the midsummer biomass peak. Members of the Oligotrichida numerically dominated abundance and biomass peaks in oligotrophic lakes while the Scuticociliatida dominated the communities of higher trophic states. Total ciliate abundance and biomass were strongly correlated with chlorophyll a concentrations as were various ciliate taxonomic groups. The relationship between ciliate seasonal distribution in these subtropical lakes with lake thermal regimes and trophic state is discussed.
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