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Environmental Management

, Volume 60, Issue 6, pp 1127–1138 | Cite as

Emergent Macrophytes Support Zooplankton in a Shallow Tropical Lake: A Basis for Wetland Conservation

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Abstract

Understanding the biodiversity value of littoral zones of lakes is a priority for aquatic biodiversity conservation. However, less emphasis has been given to the littoral part of tropical African lakes, with many of the previous researches focusing only on the open water side. The aim of the present study was, therefore, to investigate the impact of the littoral zone of a shallow freshwater tropical lake (Ziway, Ethiopia), dominated by two emergent macrophytes, on zooplankton community structure. We hypothesized that the wetland vegetation serves as a preferred microhabitat for zooplankton communities. A lake with substantial coverage of emergent macrophytes was monitored monthly from January to August, 2016. The monitoring included the measurements of physical, chemical, and biological parameters. Sampling sites were selected to represent areas of the macrophyte vegetation (Typha latifolia and Phragmites australis) and the open water part of the lake. Sites with macrophyte vegetation were found to be the home of more dense and diverse zooplankton community. However, during the period of high vegetation loss, the density of crustacean zooplankton showed significant reduction within the patches of macrophytes. From biodiversity conservation perspective, it was concluded that the preservation of such small areas of macrophytes covering the littoral zone of lakes could be as important as protecting the whole lake. However, the rapid degradation of wetland vegetation by human activities is a real threat to the lake ecosystem. In the not-too-far future, it could displace and evict riparian vegetation and the biota it supports.

Keywords

Community Biodiversity conservation Fresh waters Lakes Zooplankton 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge Vlaamse Interuniversitaire Raad-Universitaire Ontwikkelingssamenwerking (VLIR-UOS PhD scholarship for Mesfin Gebrehiwot), Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB-BAS42) and Addis Ababa University for their financial and logistic support.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

267_2017_935_MOESM1_ESM.docx (71 kb)
Supplementary Information

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mesfin Gebrehiwot
    • 1
    • 2
  • Demeke Kifle
    • 3
  • Ludwig Triest
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Health ScienceHaramaya UniversityHararEthiopia
  3. 3.Department of Zoological ScienceAddis Ababa UniversityAddis AbabaEthiopia

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