Only the small survive: monitoring long-term changes in the zooplankton community of an Alpine lake after fish introduction
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The zooplankton community of Alpine lake Seehornsee (1,779 m a.s.l.) was studied over a period of 13 years. In 1994, a typical high-altitude zooplankton community, consisting of two calanoid copepods (Mixodiaptomus laciniatus, Arctodiaptomus alpinus), one cladoceran (Daphnia rosea), and two rotifers (Keratella quadrata, Synchaeta pectinata) coexisted with infertile charr hybrids, which had been introduced in 1969 and again in 1974. When the aged fish were removed by intensive gill netting, they had fed predominantly on aquatic insects. After a fish-free period of 4 years, 2000 fertile juvenile Alpine charr (Salvelinus umbla) were stocked in 1998 and again in 1999. They preyed on benthic (chydorids, ostracods, cyclopoid copepods, chironomid larvae and pupae) and planktonic prey (diaptomid copepods, Daphnia). Between 2004 and 2006 charr successfully reproduced. Nine years after stocking of fertile charr, the two calanoids had virtually disappeared, and Daphnia rosea had notably declined in abundance. In concordance with the size efficiency hypothesis (Brooks and Dodson 1965), the newly appearing and smaller cladoceran Ceriodaphnia pulchella, together with the two resident, and two emerging species of rotifers (Polyarthra luminosa, Gastropus stylifer) dominated the zooplankton community.
KeywordsAlien species Alpine lake Fish stocking Top down Zooplankton
During 1998/99 funding was provided by the Austrian National Bank. We wish to thank the tenants (Ulrike Bayrhammer, Herbert Hübel, Franz Kreibich, Miguel Spitzy) for the authorization to fish in Lake Seehornsee and the forestry department (Bayerische Saalforste) for permission to use the forest road. We are grateful to Hubert Gassner for help with stocking and gill netting.
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