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Community Composition of Lake Zooplankton, Benthic Macroinvertebrates and Forage Fish Across a pH Gradient in Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada

Abstract

The composition of zooplankton, benthic macroinvertebrate (BMI) and forage fish communities of 20 lakes in and near Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site were evaluated as part of Environment Canada’s Acid Rain Biomonitoring Program. The pH of study lakes ranged from 4.3 to 6.6. Lake pH was positively correlated with alkalinity, calcium and magnesium concentrations and negatively correlated with colour, aluminium, total organic carbon and nitrogen. Gradients in overall BMI community composition and total BMI richness were strongly related to the gradient in pH, but the composition of zooplankton and forage fish communities were more strongly related to other environmental parameters such as elevation. Potential indicator species for future acid rain monitoring included Daphnia catawba, the amphipod Hyalella azteca, pill/pea clams Pisidium casertanum and Pisidium ferrugineum and larval water scavenger beetle Berosus. These chemical and biological data provide a baseline for future evaluation of the continued effects of anthropogenic deposition to this acid-sensitive region of Atlantic Canada.

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Acknowledgments

This study was funded by the Clean Air Regulatory Agenda (CARA) program of Environment Canada. Collections were made under scientific permits from Parks Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. All animal handling followed procedures approved by an Environment Canada Animal Care Committee. We would like to thank Bohdan Bilyj (BIOTAX), who completed taxonomic identifications of macroinvertebrates, and the Sudbury Freshwater Co-op Unit at Laurentian University, where zooplankton identifications were completed. In addition, we thank Tom Clair and Ian Dennis (formerly in the Water Science and Technology Directorate, Environment Canada) for providing water chemistry data. We thank Adam Martens and Miriam Morgan for field and lab assistance. Logistical support was provided by staff at Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site, Parks Canada and Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute.

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Correspondence to Michelle F. Bowman.

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Bowman, M.F., Nussbaumer, C. & Burgess, N.M. Community Composition of Lake Zooplankton, Benthic Macroinvertebrates and Forage Fish Across a pH Gradient in Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada. Water Air Soil Pollut 225, 2211 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11270-014-2211-7

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Keywords

  • pH gradient
  • Community composition
  • Biological indicators
  • Kejimkujik National Park