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Reorganization of aquatic communities from low-nutrient lakes in northwestern New Brunswick, Canada

  • Margaux Daly
  • Joshua Kurek
  • Irene Gregory-Eaves
  • Alain Patoine
Original paper

Abstract

Sparse monitoring of New Brunswick (Canada) lakes creates challenges for understanding mechanisms of deteriorating water quality, such as recent instances of increased cyanobacterial biomass in low-nutrient systems. To assess long-term environmental change experienced by low-nutrient, dimictic New Brunswick lakes we use sedimentary remains of algal pigments and Cladocera in dated cores from impact (prone to late-summer algal blooms, Lac Unique) and reference (no observed algal blooms, First and States) lakes. Overall, all three lakes now exhibit greater bosminid abundance and fewer daphniids, lower Cladocera richness, and smaller average cladoceran body size, although some lake-specific differences in assemblage response exist that cannot be related solely to top-down or bottom-up forces. Zooplankton trends are most pronounced at Lac Unique and First Lake, where algal production is generally greater. Across all three lakes, the only significant (IndVal: p < 0.05) cladoceran bioindicator of the post-1990 period is the pelagic bosminid group, whereas prior to ~ 1990, Daphnia longispina-complex and several littoral taxa were significant (IndVal: p < 0.05) bioindicators. These temporal shifts suggest that the smaller-bodied bosminid group may now be favored over its larger-bodied pelagic competitor Daphnia sp. in these lakes, irrespective of heterogeneous long-term algal patterns inferred from stable sedimentary pigments. We suggest that the indirect effects of climate change, principally during the spring and summer quarters in New Brunswick, may be associated with marked shifts in limnological structure, as evidenced by changes in dominant zooplankton of the pelagic zone. However, further research is needed to rule out whether or not size-selective predation, and its potential interactions with climate change and other stressors, are key mechanisms favoring increased bosminids in low-nutrient, dimictic lakes.

Keywords

Zooplankton Algal pigments Climate change Bosmina Daphnia 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Funding for this research was provided by a 2015–2016 New Brunswick Environmental Trust Fund (NB ETF) Grant and a 2015 Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Grant to JK. MD was supported by an Independent Student Research Grant (ISRG) from Mount Allison University. IGE acknowledges generous support from the Canada Research Chairs program. We also thank Paul MacKeigan for field and lab assistance, Leanne Elchyshyn for processing pigment samples and Allen Curry for data sharing and study site suggestions. Two reviewers and Andrew Labaj provided helpful comments that improved this article.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaux Daly
    • 1
  • Joshua Kurek
    • 1
  • Irene Gregory-Eaves
    • 2
  • Alain Patoine
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Geography and EnvironmentMount Allison UniversitySackvilleCanada
  2. 2.Department of BiologyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  3. 3.Université de MonctonShippiganCanada

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