, Volume 663, Issue 1, pp 83–99 | Cite as

Distribution of cladoceran assemblages across environmental gradients in Nova Scotia (Canada) lakes

  • Jennifer B. KorosiEmail author
  • John P. Smol
Primary research paper


Cladocera sub-fossils have widely been recognized as useful environmental indicators. Nevertheless, investigations into the distribution and environmental controls on Cladocera are scarce in North America, hindering their use in paleolimnological studies. Here, we examine cladoceran assemblage and size structure from the surface sediments of 49 soft-water Nova Scotia (Canada) lakes to provide ecological data on this key taxonomic group, the first study of its kind for the northern Atlantic coast of North America. We found that Nova Scotia lakes contain a diverse chydorid assemblage, but were generally dominated by the smaller pelagic herbivore Eubosmina longispina. Daphnia, a larger pelagic herbivore, was relatively uncommon in these lakes. Redundancy analyses (RDA) identified maximum lake depth and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) as the environmental variables that best explained the structuring of these cladoceran assemblages. Generalized linear models were then used to better characterize the ecological associations for individual taxa. Body size of the bosminids in these lakes was significantly correlated only to total nitrogen (TN), with larger bosminids in lakes with lower TN values. Bosminid mucro length, an indication of invertebrate and fish predation pressure, was significantly related to TN, maximum lake depth, and lake surface area. The ecological information provided by this study should assist the interpretation of paleolimnological assessments of environmental change in these and other similar lakes.


Paleolimnology Cladocera Nova Scotia lakes Assemblage Size structure 



We thank Tom Clair and Ian Dennis of Environment Canada (Atlantic Region) for providing water chemistry data, and acknowledge the staff at Kejimkujik and Cape Breton Highlands National Parks for providing logistical support for field work, as well as B. Ginn, M. Rate, C. Chan, B. Keddy, B. Keatley, J. Hawryshyn, J. Thienpont, and A. Jeziorski for field assistance. We also acknowledge A. Jeziorski, J. Sweetman, J. Kurek, and two anonymous reviewers for providing valuable feedback that improved the quality of this manuscript. This study was funded by a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery grant to JPS, and an NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship D to JBK.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Lab (PEARL), Department of BiologyQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada

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