Differential Impacts of Copepods and Cladocerans on Lake Seston, and Resulting Effects on Zooplankton Growth
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In an enclosure study in Schöhsee, a small mesotrophic lake in Northern Germany, the impact of copepods and daphniids on the seston community was studied. In general, these two guilds differ in their feeding behaviour. Copepods actively select their food, with a preference for larger particles, whereas most cladocerans are unselective filter-feeders. In this study we investigate how the impact of the two different grazers affects zooplankton growth. We combine results obtained in the laboratory with results measured in situ in the enclosures. Copepods and cladocerans were cultured on seston from enclosures that were inhabited by density gradients of copepods or daphniids. We observed that Daphnia grew faster on seston that was pre-handled by copepods than on seston that was pre-handled by daphniids, and that somatic growth decreased with increasing densities of daphniids in the enclosures. In contrast, we observed no differences in development rates for copepods grown on the different media. The population growth rates of Daphnia in the Daphnia treatments were determined in the enclosures. Growth differences in both somatic- and population growth of Daphnia were correlated to food quality aspects of the seston. In the laboratory we found that Daphnia growth was correlated with several fatty acids. The strongest regression was with the concentration of 20:4ω3 (r2= 0.37). This particular fatty acid also showed the highest correlation with growth after normalisation of the fatty acids to the carbon content of the enclosures (r2= 0.33). On the other hand, in the enclosure the population growth correlated most to the particulate nitrogen content (r2= 0.78) and only to the N:C ratio, when normalised to carbon (r2= 0.51).
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