, Volume 628, Issue 1, pp 165–175 | Cite as

Zooplankton–phytoplankton relationships in shallow subtropical versus temperate lakes Apopka (Florida, USA) and Trasimeno (Umbria, Italy)

  • Karl E. Havens
  • Antonia Concetta Elia
  • Maria Illuminata Taticchi
  • Rolland S. FultonIII
Primary research paper


This study compares and contrasts the dynamics of phytoplankton, zooplankton, and nutrients in two of the largest shallow lakes in the USA (Lake Apopka, Florida) and Europe (Lago Trasimeno, Umbria, Italy) and considers particularly the biomass ratio of zooplankton to phytoplankton (BZ:BP) in relation to nutrient levels and in the context of data from other subtropical and temperate lakes. Lake Apopka is hypereutrophic with higher concentrations of total phosphorus (TP), nitrogen (TN), and nearly an order of magnitude higher BP than Lago Trasimeno. However, combined data from the two lakes can be fit to a single log–log regression model that explains 72% of the variability in BP based on TP. In contrast, BZ has a significant positive log–log relationship with TP only for Lago Trasimeno, and is much lower than expected based on the TP concentrations observed in Lake Apopka. Lake Apopka has a fish assemblage that includes high densities of gizzard shad (Dorosoma cepedianum) and threadfin shad (D. petenense), similar to other eutrophic Florida lakes that also have extreme low BZ. The ratio BZ:BP is below 0.01 in Lake Apopka, 10-fold lower than in Trasimeno and among the lowest values reported in the literature. Although stress of high water temperature and a greater proportion of inedible cyanobacteria may be contributing factors, the collective results support an emerging view that fish predation limits the biomass of crustacean zooplankton in subtropical lakes.


Zooplankton Phytoplankton Shallow lakes Subtropical Fish predation 



The authors are grateful to two anonymous reviewers for providing helpful suggestions for revising an earlier draft of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karl E. Havens
    • 1
  • Antonia Concetta Elia
    • 2
  • Maria Illuminata Taticchi
    • 2
  • Rolland S. FultonIII
    • 3
  1. 1.Florida Sea Grant College Program, University of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.University of PerugiaPerugiaItaly
  3. 3.St. Johns River Water Management DistrictPalatkaUSA

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