, Volume 431, Issue 2–3, pp 211–224 | Cite as

Zooplankton community composition of lakes in the Yukon and Northwest Territories (Canada): relationship to physical and chemical limnology

  • Kerrie M. Swadling
  • Reinhard Pienitz
  • Thomas Nogrady


We analysed associations between zooplankton species composition and local abiotic factors in 30 lakes located along a 900 km south-north transect from Whitehorse (Yukon Territory) to Inuvik (Northwest Territories). The lakes were situated in three broadly defined vegetation zones: (i) Boreal forest (between Whitehorse and Dawson City), (ii) alpine tundra (Ogilvie mountains north of Dawson City) and (iii) subarctic forest-tundra (near Inuvik). Lakes in the alpine tundra were characterised by lower conductivity, temperature, chlorophyll a and nutrients than those in the other two zones. Those in the forest-tundra were generally small and shallow, and had higher chlorophyll a concentrations than lakes further south. Lakes in forested catchments spanned a larger latitudinal range and exhibited a greater variety of physical and chemical characteristics. However, they were generally deeper, with higher conductivity, temperature and ionic concentrations. Forty-one zooplankton taxa were identified from the 30 lakes, of which the most frequently occurring were the rotifers Conochilus unicornis, Kellicottia longispina, Keratella cochlearis and Polyarthra vulgaris, the cladocerans Daphnia middendorffiana and Bosmina longirostris, and the copepods Leptodiaptomus pribilofensis, Heterocope septentrionalis and Cyclops spp. The lakes contained between two and fifteen species (mean = 6.9). Alpine tundra lakes contained slightly less species (mean = 5.8) than those at lower elevations; in particular the cladoceran fauna was depauperate or absent. Relationships among the lakes, species and environmental factors were examined using canonical correspondence analysis, with forward selection and associated Monte Carlo permutation tests. Chloride, silica and temperature showed statistically significant relationships with species distribution, and together these abiotic factors explained 25% of the variation in zooplankton communities within Yukon and Northwest Territories lakes.

Cladocera Copepoda Rotifera subarctic lakes multivariate analyses 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kerrie M. Swadling
  • Reinhard Pienitz
  • Thomas Nogrady

There are no affiliations available

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