Skip to main content

The role of zooplankton in the ecological succession of plankton and benthic algae across a salinity gradient in the Shark Bay solar salt ponds

Abstract

The relatively low biodiversity and simple hydrodynamics make solar salt ponds ideal sites for ecological studies. We have studied the ecological gradient of the primary ponds at the Shark Bay Resources solar salt ponds, Western Australia, using a coupled hydrodynamic ecological numerical model, DYRESM–CAEDYM. Seven ponds representative of the primary system were simulated with salinity ranging from 45 to 155 ppt. Five groups of organisms were simulated: three phytoplankton, one microbial mat plankton, and one zooplankton as well as dissolved inorganic and particulate organic nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon. By extracting the various carbon fluxes from the model, we determined the role that the introduced zooplankton, Artemia sp., plays in grazing the particulate organic carbon (POC) from the water column in the high salinity ponds. We also examined the nutrient fluxes and stoichiometric ratios of the various organic components for each pond to establish the extent to which observed patterns in nutrient dynamics are mediated by the presence of Artemia sp. Model results indicated that Artemia sp. grazing was responsible for reduced water column POC in the higher salinity ponds. This resulted in an increase in photosynthetic available radiation (PAR) reaching the pond floor and consequent increase in microbial mat biomass, thus demonstrating the dual benefits of Artemia sp. to salt production in improved quality and quantity. In contrast, this study found no direct link between Artemia sp. and observed changes in planktonic algal species composition or nutrient limitation across the salinity gradient of the ponds.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10

References

  • Abreu-Grobios, F. A. & J. A. Beardmore, 1980. International Study on Artmeia II. Genetic characterization of Artemia populations—an electrophoretic approach. In Persoone, G., P. Sorgeloos, O. Roels & E. Jaspers (eds), The brine shrimp Artemia. Vol. I. Morhplogy, genetics, radiobiology, toxicology. Universa Press, Wetteren: 133–146.

  • Andersson, A., S. Falk, G. Samuelsson & Å. Hagström, 1989. Nutritional characteristics of a mixotrophic nanoflagellate, Ochromonas sp. Microbial Ecology 17: 251–262.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Baseggio, G., 1974. The composition of sea water and its concentrates. Fourth Symposium on Salt. Northern Ohio Geological Society: 351–357.

  • Borowitzka, K. J., 1981. The microflora adaptation to life in extremely saline lakes. Hydrobiologia 81: 33–46.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bruce, L. C., D. Hamilton, J. Imberger, G. Gal, M. Gophen, T. Zohary & K. D. Hambright, 2006. A numerical simulation of the role of zooplankton in C, N and P cycling in Lake Kinneret, Israel. Ecological Modelling 193: 412–436.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dana, G. L. & P. H. Lenz, 1986. Effects of increasing salinity on Artemia population from Mono Lake, California. Oceologia 68: 428–436.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Davis, J. S., 1980. Experiences with Artemia at solar salt works. In Persoone, G., P. Sorgeloos, O. Roels & E. Jaspers (eds), The Brine Shrimp Artemia. Universa Press, Wetteren: 51–55.

    Google Scholar 

  • Davis, J. S., 1993. Biological management for problem solving and biological concepts for a new generation of solar saltworks. Seventh Symposium on Salt. Elsevier Science Publishers, Amsterdam: 611–616.

  • Davis, J. S., 1997. Useless Loop Solar Saltfields Status Report on the Current Biological Condition. Shark Bay Resources Publication.

  • Davis, J. S., 1999. Biological Assessment of the Shark Bay Pond System after the Addition of Pond PM1. Shark Bay Resources Publication.

  • Evjemo, J. O. & Y. Olsen, 1999. Effect of food concentration on the growth and production rate of Artemia franciscana feeding on algae (T. iso). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 24: 273–296.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Evjemo, J. O., O. Vadstein & Y. Olsen, 2000. Feeding and assimilation kinetics of Artemia franciscana fed Isochrysis galbana (clone T. iso). Marine Biology 136: 1099–1109.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Frost, P. C., M. A. Xenopoulos & J. H. Larson, 2004. The stoichiometry of dissolved organic carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus release by a planktonic grazer, Daphnia. Limnology and Oceanography 49: 1802–1808.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Griffin, S. L., M. Herzfeld & D. P. Hamilton, 2000. Modelling the impact of zooplankton grazing on phytoplankton biomass during a dinoflagellate bloom in the Swan River Estuary, Western Australia. Ecological Engineering 16: 373–394.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jellison, R., G. L. Dana & J. M. Melack, 1995. Zooplankton cohort analysis using systems identification techniques. Journal of Plankton Research 17: 2093–2115.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jones, A. G., C. M. Ewing & M. V. Melvin, 1981. Biotechnology of solar saltfields. Hydrobiologia 82: 391–406.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jorgensen, S. E. & G. Bendoricchio, 2001. Fundamentals of Ecological Modelling, 3rd edn. Developments in Environmental Modelling 21. Elsevier.

  • Loeblich, L. A., 1972. Studies on the brine flagellate Dunaliella salina. PhD thesis. University of California, San Diego.

  • Martin, J. H., 1968. Phytoplankton-zooplankton relationships in Narragansett Bay. III. Seasonal changes in zooplankton excretion rates in relation to phytoplankton abundance. Limnology and Oceanography, 13: 63–71.

    Google Scholar 

  • Oren, A., 1993. Ecology of extrememly halophilic microorganisms. In Vreeland, R. H. & L. I. Hochstein (eds), The Biology of Halophilic Bacteria. CRC Press: 25–53.

  • Reeve, M. R., 1963. Growth efficiency in artemia under laboratory conditions. The Biological Bulletin 125: 133–145.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Robson, B. J. & D. P. Hamilton, 2004. Three-dimensional modelling of a Microcystis bloom event in the Swan River estuary, Western Australia. Ecological Modelling 174: 203–222.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Romero, J. R., J. P. Antenucci & J. Imberger, 2004. One- and three-dimensional biogeochemical simulations of two differing reservoirs. Ecological Modelling 174: 143–160.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Rothhaupt, K. O., 1996. Utilization of substitutable C- and P-sources by the mixotrophic chrysophyte Ochromonas sp. Ecology 77: 706–715.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Roux, J. M., 1996. Production of polysaccharide slime by microbial mats in the hypersaline environment of a Western Australian solar saltfield. International Journal of Salt Lake Research 5: 103–130.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sarnelle, O. & R. A. Knapp, 2005. Nutrient recycling by fish verses zooplankton grazing as drivers of the trophic cascade in alpine lakes. Limnology and Oceanography 50: 2032–2042.

    Google Scholar 

  • Segal, R. D., A. W. Waite & D. P. Hamilton, 2006. Transition from planktonic to benthic algal dominance along a salinity gradient. Hydrobiologia 556: 119–135.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sterner, R. W., 1986. Herbivores’ direct and indirect effects on algal populations. Science 231: 605–607.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Sterner, R. W. & D. O. Hessen, 1994. Algal nutrient limitation and the nutrition of aquatic herbivores. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 25: 1–29.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tackaert, W. & P. Sorgeloos, 1993. The use of brine shrimp Artemia in biological management of solar saltworks. Seventh Symposium on Salt. Elsevier Science Publishers, Amsterdam: 617–622.

  • Thomas, W. H. & A. N. Dodson, 1974. Effect of interactions between temperature and nitrate supply on the cell-division rates of two marine phytoflagellates. Marine Biology 24: 213–217.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Toumi, N., H. Ayadi, O. Abid, J. Carrias, T. Sime-Ngando, M. Boukhris & A. Bouain, 2005. Zooplankton distribution in four ponds of different salinity: a seasonal study in the solar salterns of Sfax (Tunisia). Hydrobiologia 534: 1–9.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Touratier, F., J. G. Field & C. L. Moloney, 2001. A stoichiometric model relating growth substrate quality (C:N:P ratios) to N:P ratios in the products of heterotrophic release and excretion. Ecological Modelling 139: 265–291.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Vanhaecke, P. & P. Sorgeloos, 1980. International Study on Artemia*. XIV. Growth and survival of artemia larvae of different geographical origin in a standard culture test. Marine Ecology–Progress Series 3: 303–307.

  • Williams, W. D., 1998. Salinity as a determinant of the structure of biological communities in salt lakes. Hydrobiologia 381: 191–201.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Yeates, P. S. & J. Imberger, 2004. Pseudo two-dimensional simulations of internal and boundary fluxes in stratified lakes and reservoirs. International Journal of River Basin Research 1: 1–23.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

The first author was funded by an Australian Postgraduate (Industry) scholarship, sponsored by the Wheatbelt Development Commission. The research was funded in part by Shark Bay Resources (SBR), a subsidiary of Clough Engineering. Data were collected by SBR and Richard Segal from the Centre for Water Research (CWR) who has also provided valuable advice on the research. The Contract Research Group at CWR and in particular Matt Hipsey and Alan Imerito provided technical support for the project.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Louise C. Bruce.

Additional information

Guest Editors: J. John & B. Timms

Salt Lake Research: Biodiversity and Conservation—Selected Papers from the 9th Conference of the International Society for Salt Lake Research

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Bruce, L.C., Imberger, J. The role of zooplankton in the ecological succession of plankton and benthic algae across a salinity gradient in the Shark Bay solar salt ponds. Hydrobiologia 626, 111–128 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-009-9740-x

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-009-9740-x

Keywords

  • Salt ponds
  • Ecological succession
  • Zooplankton model