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Diapause dynamics of two diaptomid copepod species in a large lake

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Skistodiaptomus oregonensis and Leptodiaptomus minutus produce diapausing eggs in a large lake, Oneida Lake, in New York State. The timing of the switch from production of subitaneous (immediately hatching) eggs to diapausing eggs for both species is in October. This timing is consistent with a pattern, reviewed here, for other populations of diaptomid copepods: populations living in large lakes tend to begin production of diapausing eggs later in the season than those living in small lakes. Populations living in temporary ponds tend to switch still earlier in the season. All populations reviewed here live in the north temperate zone. The sediments of Oneida Lake contain densities of diaptomid diapausing eggs on the order of 105 m−2 per cm below the sediment surface down to 5 cm. Below this sediment depth, egg densities decline. The highest egg densities were found in sediments under the deepest water. Diapausing eggs of L. minutus survive in the sediments at least two years, as shown by the recovery of the population after a year in which no new diapausing eggs were produced, and probably for two or more decades. Long-term dormancy can have the effect of ensuring the continuation of a population through periods of poor recruitment, and can help create conditions for the coexistence of competing species. Other investigators have suggested that S. oregonensis and L. minutus are competitors in other lakes when they co-occur.

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Hairston, N.G., Van Brunt, R.A. Diapause dynamics of two diaptomid copepod species in a large lake. Hydrobiologia 292, 209–218 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00229943

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  • Deep Water
  • Sediment Surface
  • Temperate Zone
  • Large Lake
  • Small Lake