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Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 184, Issue 11, pp 6647–6671 | Cite as

Trends in benthic macroinvertebrate community biomass and energy budgets in Lake Sevan, 1928–2004

  • Karen Jenderedjian
  • Susanna Hakobyan
  • Martin A. Stapanian
Article
  • 295 Downloads

Abstract

Water levels of Lake Sevan (Armenia) were artificially lowered by nearly 20 m between 1949 and 1997. Lowered water levels, combined with increased eutrophication, were associated with seasonally anoxic conditions (lasting 1–4 months) near the bottom of the profundal zone each year during 1976–2004. In addition, the extents of the macrophyte zone and of certain substrate types were severely reduced following drawdown. Maximal depth of occurrence decreased by 2–44 m for at least for 50 species of benthic macroinvertebrates between 1982 and 2004 compared to 1937–1961. Species richness of benthic macroinvertebrates declined from 25 to three species at depths where seasonal anoxia occurred. Total biomass increased by a factor of 10 from the period 1928–1948 to 1976–1979 then declined by a factor of 3 to 4 between 1987 and 2004. Energy flow through detritivores was more than tripled during 1976–2004 compared to 1928–1971, a result of increased plankton primary production. In contrast, energy flow through herbivorous benthic macroinvertebrates decreased by a factor of nearly 5, due to reduced areal coverage of macrophytes. Energy flow through filter feeders did not change over the time period examined, but energy flow through the entire zoobenthos community was nearly tripled. The biomasses of Oligochaeta, Chironomidae, and total zoobenthos showed a delayed response to changes in primary production of 7–9, 2, and 2–4 years, respectively. These patterns may provide a basis to predict results of restoration efforts based on the abundance of the zoobenthos in future years as the level of the lake is restored and water quality improves.

Keywords

Lake Sevan Zoobenthos Distribution Biomass Substrata Energy balance Primary production 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors dedicate this article to the memory of the longstanding Director of the Institute of Hydroecology and Ichthyology, Corresponding Member of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia, Prof. Rafik Oganesian (1940–2011), and of the captain of the scientific vessel, Mr. Suren Badalyan (1928–2009). The authors are grateful to the Nagao Natural Environment Foundation (Japan) and Armenian National Science & Education Fund (USA) for funding the studies in 2004. D. Schloesser and K. Krieger provided comments and suggestions on earlier drafts. This article is contribution number 1669 of the U.S. Geological Survey Great Lakes Science Center.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen Jenderedjian
    • 1
  • Susanna Hakobyan
    • 2
  • Martin A. Stapanian
    • 3
  1. 1.Agency of Bioresources ManagementMinistry of Nature ProtectionYerevanArmenia
  2. 2.Institute of Hydroecology and IchthyologyScientific Center for Zoology and Hydrobiology of the National Academy of SciencesYerevanArmenia
  3. 3.U.S. Geological SurveySanduskyUSA

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