Relationships between aquatic invertebrate communities, water-level fluctuations and different habitats in a subtropical lake
In lakes, the littoral habitat and its invertebrate communities are often exposed to water-level fluctuations. We examined the effects of seasonal changes on water level, substrata availability and benthic fauna in the littoral zone of Peri Lake, a shallow lake that has experienced a strong reduction in water level due to changes in rainfall. In this study, we also examined whether the abundance and composition of aquatic invertebrates differed among the four substrata. Our main objective was to assess the effect of seasonal changes on water level and benthic invertebrates inhabiting the different types of substrata. Benthic invertebrates were sampled four different substrata (Schoenoplectus californicus, sand and stones, allochthonous leaf litter, and macrophyte stands), and we also measured meteorological, physical and chemical variables. We found that complex habitats, such as allochthonous leaf litter and aquatic macrophyte, stand to be colonised by a larger number of macroinvertebrates because they provide more habitats or potential niches for colonisation by different species. In addition, we observed that during periods of low water level, the presence of substrata in the littoral zone decreased, as did the associated biota. Therefore, our results suggest that water level changes have a major functional impact on the littoral zone of the lake, and can affect substratum availability, which also impacts invertebrate communities.
KeywordsBenthic fauna Littoral habitats Peri Lake Taxonomic composition Water-level variation
We are grateful to staff from Laboratory of Freshwater Ecology from Federal University of Santa Catarina (www.limnos.ufsc.br) for collaborative efforts related to the samplings. We thank the ICEA (Instituto de Controle do Espaco Aéreo) and CASAN (Companhia Catarinense de Água e Esgoto) for providing rainfall and water level data, respectively.
This study was funded by CNPq (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico) and the first author was supported by CAPES (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior).
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