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Cladocerans as indicators in the importance of passive nature conservation


The aim of our study was to verify the effectiveness of passive nature conservation with regard to the preservation of species, by examining a typical mesozooplankton community. We investigated five oxbow lakes which were similar to each other in terms of size, depth and close-to-each, but which differed markedly from one to another in terms of lake management. One is under passive protection, the others are under different forms of management. Based on the NMDS (Non-metric Dimensional Scaling) analysis, we identified the variable (transparency) which is responsible for the segregation. In the case of rare species IndVal (Indicator Value) analysis was used to evaluate the occurrence and significance of indicator species. We also found marked differences in the species composition; seven species showed indicator values for the protected oxbow lake, five of which were significant (p < 0.001). In contrast, in the case of the other four oxbow lakes, a total of one species showed an indicator value. Finally, regression tree analysis was used to distinguish the oxbow lakes from each other for both common and mass-occurring species. Among the mass-occurring species, the protected oxbow lake is characterized by a large number of Acropreus harpae (Baird, 1835), while in case of the other, non-protected, oxbow lakes Alona guttata (Sars, 1862) and Alonella excisa (Fischer, 1854) are the basis for the separate classification. There is a positive effect of passive protection regarding the quantitative and qualitative occurrence of the zooplankton community. Our study highlights the importance of this kind of passive protection in the life of a particular water body and advocates that their protection should be maintained.

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We would like to thank the valuable and detailed comments and suggestions made by our reviewers. The research was financed by the Higher Education Institutional Excellence Programme of the Ministry of Human Capacities in Hungary, within the framework of the 4. thematic programme of the University of Debrecen. The research was partially supported by the Internal Research Project of the University of Debrecen (E. Simon) and by the Institutional Doctorate Science Scholarship of the University of Debrecen (Cs. Berta).

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Correspondence to Csaba Berta.

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Berta, C., Gyulai, I., Szabó, J.L. et al. Cladocerans as indicators in the importance of passive nature conservation. Biologia 73, 875–884 (2018).

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  • Passive nature conservation
  • Zooplankton
  • Indicator
  • Oxbow lake
  • Lake management