Zooplankton associations in East African lakes spanning a wide salinity range
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Abstract The zooplankton of 38 East African lakes has been analysed in terms of species richness and dominance. The conductivities of the lakes range from 48 to 72 500 µS cm−1 20 °C. The lakes generally contain more species of rotifers than either Copepoda or Cladocera. The number of species of rotifers begins to decline at a conductivity below 1000 µS cm−1, and falls to 2 or 3 species above 3000 µS cm−1. Similar reductions occur in the Copepoda and Cladocera.
Many species can be dominant at conductivities below 1000 µS cm−1, but the range is restricted progressively with increasing salinity. The dominant species of Rotifera, Copepoda and Cladocera change independently along the salinity gradient, but there are indications of interactions and modifications of community structure by predation and competition.
Key wordsRotifera Copepoda Cladocera species richness salinity
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