, Volume 54, Issue 3, pp 201–208 | Cite as

Relative availability and utilization of algae in two subarctic rivers

  • J. W. Moore


The ash free dry weight of algae in the plankton, epilithon and gut of predominant herbivores was determined between June 1975 and July 1976 in 2 subarctic Canadian rivers (Baker Creek, Yellowknife River). Algae usually represented < 1% of suspended solids in both rivers and up to 8o% of material attached to rocks. While they were never found in the gut of rotifers and copepod nauplii in Baker Creek, they accounted for 0.5% of the contents of the planktonic conchostracon Lynceus brachyurus. Due to the inpalatable colonial structure of most attached algal species, the zoobenthos (mainly mayfly nymphs) contained only a few cells. Size selection against large fragments of detritus resulted in increased consumption of algae (5–13%) by Simulium venustum, S. decorum and S. arcticum. In the Yellowknife River, Diaptomus ashlandi (CIII–CVI stages) and Holopedium gibberum contained only a few (30–50) algal cells during summer. Because of size selection, large algae were not ingested by these species. The inpalatability of colonial algae greatly reduced consumption in the predominant zoobenthic species, Ephemerella coxalis and E. margarita. While all species digested diatoms, the Chlorophyta usually passed through the gut unharmed. It is concluded that algae are not an important energy source for invertebrates in either stream.


algae detritus food epilithon invertebrates plankton 


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Copyright information

© Dr. W. Junk b. v. Publishers 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. W. Moore
    • 1
  1. 1.Environmental Protection ServiceYellowknifeCanada

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