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Acidification and the structure of crustacean zooplankton in mountain lakes: The Tatra Mountains (Slovakia, Poland)

1Department of Ecology, Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague, Viničná 7, CZ-12844, Prague 2, Czech Republic

2Hydrobiological Station, Institute for Environmental Studies, Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague, P.O. Box 47, CZ-38801, Blatná, Czech Republic

3Institute of Zoology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Löfflerova 10, SK-04002, Košice, Slovak Republic

4Institute of Biological and Ecological Sciences, Faculty of Science, P.J. Šafárik University, Moyzesova 11, SK-04001, Košice, Slovakia

© 2006 Institute of Zoology, Slovak Academy of Sciences. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Citation Information: Biologia. Volume 61, Issue 18, Pages S121–S134, ISSN (Online) 1336-9563, ISSN (Print) 0006-3088, DOI: 10.2478/s11756-006-0125-6, September 2006

Publication History

Published Online:
2006-09-01

Abstract

Species composition of planktonic Crustacea in 102 lakes in the West and High Tatra Mountains, studied during the peak of anthropogenic acidification (1978–1996), is presented in this work. Zooplankton of the Tatra lakes have been studied since the middle of the 19th century, which later enabled the recognition of lake acidification and the assessment of its effect on the plankton community of lake ecosystems. In the pre-acidification period, the distribution of zooplankton was determined namely by the lake altitude and orientation (north vs. south) and by the catchment character. Crustacean zooplankton in larger lakes consisted of a limited number of species, with Acanthodiaptomus denticornis and Daphnia longispina dominating lakes in the forest zone, and Arctodiaptomus alpinus, Cyclops abyssorum, Daphnia longispina, Daphnia pulicaria, and Holopedium gibberum dominating lakes in the alpine zone. Ceriodaphnia quadrangula, Daphnia obtusa, Daphnia pulex, and Mixodiaptomus tatricus occurred in lakes with high concentrations of dissolved organic matter and in strongly acidified waters. Anthropogenic acidification has caused drastic changes in both the chemistry and biology of the Tatra lakes. Based on their status during the acidification peak, lakes were divided into three categories: non-acidified (with no change in the species composition of crustacean zooplankton due to the acidification), acidified (planktonic Crustacea disappeared in lakes with meadow-rocky catchments), and strongly acidified lakes where original Crustacea in meadow-rocky catchment lakes disappeared and were replaced by populations of the acid-tolerant littoral species Acanthocyclops vernalis, Chydorus sphaericus, and Eucyclops serrulatus. The acidification-induced processes of oligotrophication and toxicity of aluminium played a key role in the extinction of species. Despite the first signs of biological recovery observed in the early 2000s, acidification remains the most important factor governing the structure of plankton in the Tatra lakes.

Keywords: Zooplankton; Crustacea; phytoplankton; mountain lakes; acidification; oligotrophication; aluminium toxicity Slovakia; Poland

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