Abundance dynamics and functional role of predaceous Leptodora kindtii in the Curonian Lagoon

Jūratė Lesutienė 1 , Anna Semenova 3 , Evelina Grinienė 1 , Zita Gasiūnaitė 1 , Viktorija Savickytė 2 , and Olga Dmitrieva 3
  • 1 Coastal Research and Planning Institute, Klaipėda University, LT92294, Klaipėda, Lithuania
  • 2 Ecology Department, Klaipėda University Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, LT92294, Klaipėda, Lithuania
  • 3 Atlantic Research Institute of Marine Fisheries and Oceanography (AtlantNIRO), 236022, Kaliningrad, Russian Federation

Abstract

The abundance and distribution of predatory cladoceran Leptodora kindtii was investigated in the estuarine lagoon (Curonian Lagoon, SE Baltic Sea). Three hydrodynamically different parts of the lagoon were selected, representing transitory oligohaline, intermediate freshwater and stagnant freshwater sites. L. kindtii was least abundant at the oligohaline site, never occurring at salinities greater than 4 psu. At the two freshwater sites, the abundance of L. kindtii varied from a low of <0.1 up to 2.2 indv. L−1 during peak abundance. Two peaks of L. kindtii abundance were observed with timing differences between stations: at the stagnant site the population of L. kindtii peaked two weeks earlier relative to the more hydrodynamically active sites, likely due to a 2°C higher May temperature. The small body size of L. kindtii in the lagoon (seasonal mean 2.68±0.6 mm) shows high fish predation pressure and predicts small cladocerans, juvenile copepods and rotifers being in the preferred prey size range. The calculated L. kindtii daily consumption during the population peak was as high as 100% of the daily zooplankton production, which implies high potential of this predator to shape the grazing zooplankton community in the lagoon.

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