Could artificial plant beds favour microcrustaceans during biomanipulation of eutrophic shallow lakes?
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Introduction of artificial plants may facilitate the transition from a turbid to a clear-water state in shallow lakes, particularly when plant establishment is delayed. We investigated the usefulness of artificial plants as a restoration tool in an experimental setup mimicking open submerged plant beds with high plant density [80%, HPD] and low plant density [20%, LPD] in shallow Lake Vaeng, Denmark, having undergone biomanipulation in the form of extensive fish removal. Biological measures of the fish, and of both free-swimming (FSM) and plant-attached microcrustaceans (PAM) within the experimental beds and in the lake, were obtained from before, during and after biomanipulation. We found that microcrustacean measures (density, biomass and Cladocera:FSM) were significantly larger in the HPD beds, before and during fish removal, while the effect of plants was not significant after biomanipulation, with low fish biomass. On PAM, these effects were less pronounced and only significant after biomanipulation. Microcrustaceans were larger-bodied at HPD in all years, for both FSM and PAM. In conclusion, artificial plant beds acted as an effective microcrustacea refuge against fish, particularly for the FSM at HPD and in the years with high fish densities, providing further evidence that artificial plant beds could assist lake restoration efforts.
KeywordsMicrocrustacea Fish predation Cladocerans Plant-associated microcrustaceans Body size
For valuable help in the field, we thank Sandra Brucet, Ayşe İdil Çakıroğlu, Lissa Skov Hansen, Frank Landkildehus, Eti Levi, Lúcia Lobão, Xristina Papadaki, Ulla Kvist Pedersen, Tommy Silberg, Ülkü Nihan Tavşanoğlu, Kirsten Landkildehus Thomsen, Korhan Özkan and Marcelo Guerrieri. We also thank Ulla Kvist Pedersen and Lissa Skov Hansen for help in the laboratory, Erling Pedersen for help in the workshop, Søren Erik Larsen for statistical advice and Anne Mette Poulsen for carefully revising the English manuscript. The study was funded by the European Commission project ENDURE (Marie Curie Individual fellowship MEIF-CT-2006-038366, to D.B.) and the Danish Centre for Lake Restoration CLEAR (a Villum Kann Rasmussen Centre of Excellence project), The Danish Research Council for Nature and Universe (272-08-0406) and MARS (Managing Aquatic ecosystems and water Resources under multiple Stress) funded under the 7th EU Framework Programme, Theme 6 (Environment including Climate Change), Contract No.: 603378 (http://www.mars-project.eu). C.T. is a researcher for the Argentinean Research Council ‘CONICET’ and received a postdoctoral grant from Unesco-L’Oréal. We dedicate the paper to the late Brian Moss, a giant in limnology, a great and wise mentor and a great friend. Brian Moss introduced us to the idea of horizontal migration of zooplankton 30+ years ago and guided the first author through his PhD study.
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