Alteration in microcrustacean secondary production and herbivory effects between the River Danube and its floodplain lake

  • Anita Galir BalkićEmail author
  • Ivančica Ternjej
  • Nataša Katanić
Primary Research Paper


The aim of this study was to determine microcrustacean secondary production (P/B) and a herbivory ratio (ZB:PB) in the River Danube and a floodplain lake to reveal models in plankton food web functioning. P/B was used to assess population variation under different environmental conditions, while ZB:PB provided information on the zooplankton grazing intensity on algae. Seasonal changes, displayed by the hydrological regime, i.e., related water level fluctuation, were expected to explain different plankton patterns between the study sites as a result of unlike community composition and food quality. The structural equation modelling we used identified specific pathways of measured indexes at the individual localities. Although the direct impact of water level fluctuation on the studied communities was low, the following difference in abiotic components might have caused shifts in zooplankton assemblages that changed P/B and ZB:PB ratios. In the floodplain lake, P/B was primarily influenced by biotic components, and herbivory alteration was expressed through top-down control. On the contrary, P/B in the riverine system was controlled by an environmental element and herbivory was driven by the bottom-up resources. The results show the usefulness of the studied indexes in determining variations of zooplankton functional processes in the hydrologically dynamic environments.


Cladocera Copepoda Floodplain lake P/B ratio ZB:PB SEM 



The Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sports supported the research Project No. 285-0000000-2674. Many thanks to project leader Prof. Jasna Vidaković for her support and Dubravka Špoljarić Maronić Ph.D., Filip Stević Ph.D., Goran Palijan Ph.D. and Vanda Zahirović for field and laboratory assistance. A map of the study area was provided by Igor Stanković Ph.D.

Supplementary material

10750_2019_3950_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (19 kb)
Online Resource 1 Species list and abundance data recorded at the River Danube and in Lake Sakadaš during the study period in 2010 and 2011. (XLSX 19 kb)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyJosip Juraj Strossmayer University of OsijekOsijekCroatia
  2. 2.Division of Zoology, Department of Biology, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia

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