, Volume 663, Issue 1, pp 121–133 | Cite as

Relation between nematode communities and trophic state in southern Swedish lakes

  • Kai RistauEmail author
  • Walter Traunspurger
Primary research paper


The aim of this study was to examine whether littoral nematode community patterns are shaped by lake trophic state. It was hypothesized that trophic level is associated negatively with the proportion of omnivores and positively with the percentages of bacterial feeders, but not at all with the diversity, abundance, and biomass of freshwater nematodes. Sediment samples were taken at littoral sites of eight southern Swedish lakes of different trophy in spring and autumn 2007. Trophic level was found to strongly influence species richness, as oligotrophic and mesotrophic lakes supported the greatest species numbers, whereas nematode abundance, biomass, and Shannon index were unaffected. Furthermore, our results indicated effects on the nematode community’s trophic structure, with a larger proportion of predatory nematodes in oligotrophic and mesotrophic lakes but no differences in the other feeding types (bacteria, algae and suction feeders, omnivorous species). Multivariate analysis indicated a shift in species compositions along the threshold from mesotrophic to eutrophic conditions, with the presence of Tobrilus gracilis, Monhystera paludicola, Brevitobrilus stefanskii, and Ethmolaimus pratensis related to the latter. Nematode communities in oligotrophic and mesotrophic lakes were characterized by a similar species composition, with pronounced occurrences of Eumonhystera longicaudatula, Semitobrilus cf. pellucidus, Prodesmodora circulata, and Rhabdolaimus terrestris. Overall, the results suggested that lake trophic state is a major factor structuring littoral nematode communities, although intra-lake variations might be of importance as well.


Community patterns Diversity Feeding types Bioindicators Lake trophy 



We thank Michael Faupel and Stefanie Gehner for their help in field work and in the preparation of nematodes for identification. The Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, SLU Uppsala Sweden, provided the limnological data of the Swedish lakes. We are grateful to Nicole Spann (Cambridge, UK) for helpful comments on the manuscript. Kai Ristau received a doctoral grant by the Scholarship Program of the Federal Environmental Foundation.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Animal EcologyBielefeld UniversityBielefeldGermany

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