Original paper

The supremacy of invertebrate predators over fish - factors behind the unconventional seasonal dynamics of cladocerans in Lake Hiidenvesi

Liljendahl-Nurminen, Anne; Horppila, Jukka; Malinen, Tommi; Eloranta, Pertti; Vinni, Mika; Alajärvi, Erika; Valtonen, Saara

Abstract

In the eutrophic Lake Hiidenvesi (30.3 km2), the early summer biomass maximum of cladoceran zooplankton is missing and the highest biomass is found unusually in mid summer. The contribution of the phantom midge Chaoborus flavicans to the unconventional seasonal dynamics of cladocerans was studied. The seasonal development of the C. flavicans population and the zooplankton community was studied together with food consumption by chaoborids and the most common vertebrate predator, smelt. The population density of Chaoborus peaked in June and collapsed in mid summer. Thereafter, another peak occurred at the end of August. The maximum density of chaoborids in the water column varied between 5,500 and 8,700 ind./m2. In early summer, the most common food items of Chaoborus were bosminids while later in summer the share of daphnids increased. Food consumption by the Chaoborus population peaked at 26-46μgCl-1d-1 in June and clearly exceeded the production rate of cladocerans. Cladoceran consumption by smelt population reached its maximum, 1.13μgCl-1d-1, in early July. Cladocerans showed a 20-40μg C/l biomass peak in July-August, coincidently with the minimum density of chaoborids. When predation pressure decreased, the mean size of cladocerans increased at 10-15m, the depth occupied by chaoborids during daytime. The results suggest that in early summer the high predation pressure prevents cladocerans from reaching a sufficient body length to defend them against Chaoborus and that the timing of the cladoceran biomass peak is determined by the relaxation of chaoborid predation.

Keywords

chaoborus flavicanscladoceransfood consumptionseasonal successionsize distribution