On choice of substrate and habitat in brachionid rotifers

  • Birger Pejler
  • Bruno Bērziņš
Conference paper
Part of the Developments in Hydrobiology book series (DIHY, volume 52)


Information on the distribution of 28 rotifers of the family Brachionidae from diverse waters in south and central Sweden was analyzed to reveal their relationships to substrate and habitat. Some brachionids are preferably planktic, others periphytic and/or benthic. Some non-planktic habitats are utilized more than others, but there is no evidence of a chemical attraction from any substrate. Instead, some substrates seem to be avoided, possibly depending on a poorer flora of periphytic algae. Besides substrate type, the following factors are found to be important for creating separate ecological niches in the brachionid family: temperature, oxygen content, trophic degree, chemical environment, food choice and sensitivity to prédation. It is possible to delineate separate ecological niches for all brachionid rotifers, implying that Hutchinson’s ideas about the ‘plankton paradox’ are contradicted. Some species are specialists, other are generalists, the latter being characterized by a great morphological variation. The species are adapted in different ways to their preferential habitats, as regards foot, egg-carrying, protrusions and other lorical structures etc. Longer spines, for instance, are generally found in more transparent water, being a supposed protection against visual predators.

Key words

rotifers Brachionidae ecology substrate habitat 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anderson, R. S., 1970. Predator-prey relationships and predation rates for crustacean zooplankters from some lakes in western Canada. Ca. J. Zool. 48: 1229–1240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bateman, L. & C. Davis, 1980. The Rotifera of hummock-hollow formations in a poor (mesotrophic) fen in Newfoundland. Int. Revue Hydrobiol. 65: 127–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beauchamp, P. M. de, 1909. Recherches sur les Rotifères: les formations tégumentaires et l’appareil digestif. Arch. Zool. exp. gén., ser. 4, 10: 1–410.Google Scholar
  4. Bërzins, B. & B. Pejler, 1987. Rotifer occurrence in relation to pH. Hydrobiologia 147: 107–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bogdan, K., J. Gilbert & P. Starkweather, 1980. In situ clearance rates of planktonic rotifers. Hydrobiologia 73: 73–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Carlin, B., 1943. Die Planktonrotatorien des Motalaström. Zur Taxonomie und Ökologie der Planktonrotatorien. Medd. Lunds Univ. limnol. Instn. 5: 1–256.Google Scholar
  7. Donner, J., 1964. Die Rotatorien-Synusien submerser Makrophyten der Donau bei Wien und mehrerer Alpenbäche. Arch. Hydrobiol. Suppl. 27: 227–324.Google Scholar
  8. Donner, J., 1970. Die Rädertierbestände submerser Moose der Salzach und anderer Wasser-Biotope des Flussgebietes. Arch. Hydrobiol. 36: 109–254.Google Scholar
  9. Donner, J., 1972. Die Rädertierbestände submerser Moose und weiterer Merotope im Bereich der Stauräume der Donau an der deutsch-österreichischen Landesgrenze. Arch. Hydrobiol. 44:49–114.Google Scholar
  10. Edmondson, W. T., 1944. Ecological studies of sessile Rotatoria. Part I. Factors affecting distribution. Ecol. Monogr. 14: 31–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Edmondson, W. T., 1945. Ecological studies of sessile Rotatoria. Part II. Dynamics of populations and social structures. Ecol. Monogr. 15: 141–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Francez, A.-J., 1984. Rotifères sessiles observés en Auvergne. Cahiers Naturalistes, Bull. nat. paris., N.S. 40: 73–80.Google Scholar
  13. Francez, A.-J. & J. Dévaux, 1985. Répartition des rotifères dans deux lacs-tourbieres du Massif Central (France). Hydrobiologia 128: 265–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ghilarov, A. M., 1984. The paradox of the plankton reconsidered; or, why do species coexist? Oikos 43: 46–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gilbert, J. & C. Williamson, 1978. Predator-prey behavior and its effect on rotifer survival and associations of Mesocyclops edax, Asplanchna girodi, Polyarthra vulgaris, and Keratella cochlearis. Oecologia 37: 13–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hauer, J., 1935. Rotatorien aus dem Schluchseemoor und seiner Umgebung. Verh. naturw. Ver. Karlsruhe 29: 47–130.Google Scholar
  17. Hendelberg, M., G. Morling & B. Pejler, 1979. The ultra-structure of the lorica of the rotifer Keratella serrulata (Ehrbg). Zoon 7: 49–54.Google Scholar
  18. Hutchinson, G. E., 1961. The paradox of the plankton. Am. Nat. 95: 137–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Koste, W., 1978. Rotatoria. Die Rädertiere Mitteleuropas. Ein Bestimmungswerk begr. von Max Voigt. Überordning Monogononta. Vol. 1–2. 673 pp. + 234 pl.Google Scholar
  20. Laxhuber, R. & U. Hartmann, 1988. The influence of temperature on the life cycle of the cold-stenothermal rotifer Notholca caudata Carlin. Verh. int. Ver. Limnol. 23: 2016–2018.Google Scholar
  21. Makarewicz, J. & G. Likens, 1975. Niche analysis of a zooplankton community. Science 190: 1000–1003.Google Scholar
  22. Martin, L. V., 1976. Rotifers in the Sphagnum pools on Thursley Common. Microscopy 33: 90–93.Google Scholar
  23. Martin, L. V., 1977. Rotifers in the Sphagnum pools on Thursley Common. Part 2. Microscopy 33: 236–241.Google Scholar
  24. May, L., 1980a. Studies on the grazing rate of Notholca squamula Muller on Asterionella formosa Hass. at different temperatures. Hydrobiologia 73: 79–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. May, L., 1980b. On the ecology of Notholca squamula Mûller in Loch Leven, Kinross, Scotland. Hydrobiologia 73: 177–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Meuche, A., 1939. Die Fauna im Algenbewuchs. Nach Unter-suchungen im Litoral ostholsteinischer Seen. Arch. Hydrobiol. 34: 349–520.Google Scholar
  27. Miracle, M. R., 1977. Migration, patchiness, and distribution in time and space of planktonic rotifers. Arch. Hydrobiol. Beih. 8: 19–37.Google Scholar
  28. Morling, G. & B. Pejler, in press. Acidification and zoo-plankton development in some west-Swedish lakes 1966–1983. Limnologica 21.Google Scholar
  29. Nilsson, N.-A. & B. Pejler, 1973. On the relation between fish fauna and zooplankton composition in North Swedish lakes. Rep. Inst. Freshw. Res. Drottningholm 53: 51–77.Google Scholar
  30. Nyberg, P., 1984. Impact of Chaoborus prédation on planktonic crustacean communities in some acidified and limed forest lakes in Sweden. Rep. Inst. Freshw. Res. Drottningholm 61: 154–166.Google Scholar
  31. Pejler, B., 1962a. Morphological studies on the genera Notholca, Kellicottia and Keratella (Rotatoria). Zool. Bidr. Uppsala 33: 295–309.Google Scholar
  32. Pejler, B., 1962b. On the variation of the rotifer Keratella cochlearis (Gosse). Zool. Bidr. Uppsala 35: 1–17.Google Scholar
  33. Pejler, B., 1965. Regional-ecological studies of Swedish fresh-water zooplankton. Zool. Bidr. Uppsala 36: 407–515.Google Scholar
  34. Pejler, B., 1977. On the global distribution of the family Brachionidae (Rotatoria). Arch. Hydrobiol. Suppl. 53: 255–306.Google Scholar
  35. Pejler, B., 1980. Variation in the genus Keratella. Hydrobiologia 73: 207–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Pejler, B., 1987. Bruno Bërzins in memoriam. 1909–1985. Hydrobiologia 147: 1–2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Pejler, B. & B. Bërzins, 1989. Rotifer occurrence in relation to temperature. Hydrobiologia 175: 223–231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Pejler, B. & B. Bërzins, 1989. Rotifer occurrence in relation to oxygen content. Hydrobiologia 183: 165–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Pejler, B. & B. Bërzins, 1989. Rotifer occurrence and trophic degree. Hydrobiologia 172: 171–180Google Scholar
  40. Pejler, B. & B. Bërzins, 1989. Rotifer occurrence in relation to water colour. Hydrobiologia 184: 23–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Petersen, R. & U. Persson, 1987. Comparison of the biological effects of humic materials under acidified conditions. Sci. Tot. Envir. 62: 387–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Pijanowska, J. & P. Dawidowicz, 1987. The lack of vertical migration in Daphnia: the effect of homogenously distributed food. Hydrobiologia 148: 175–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Pourriot, R., 1977. Food and feeding habits of Rotifer a. Arch. Hydrobiol. Beih. 8: 243–260.Google Scholar
  44. Ruttner-Kolisko, A., 1956. Der Lebensraum des Limnopsam-mals. Verh. dtsch. zool. Ges. Hamburg 1956: 421–427.Google Scholar
  45. Ruttner-Kolisko, A., 1972. Rotatoria. Binnengewâsser 26: 99–234.Google Scholar
  46. Stemberger, R., 1982. Mechanisms controlling selection and rates of prédation on rotifers in Cyclops bicuspidatus thomasi. Ph. D. Thesis, Univ. Mich. 95 pp.Google Scholar
  47. Stemberger, R. & M. Evans, 1984. Rotifer seasonal succession and copepod prédation in Lake Michigan. J. Great Lakes Res. 10: 417–428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Stemberger, R. & J. Gilbert, 1984. Spine development in the rotifer Keratella cochlearis: induction by cyclopoid cope-pods and Asplanchna. Freshwat. Biol. 14: 639–647.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Stemberger, R. & J. Gilbert, 1987. Defenses of planktonic rotifers against predators. In: W. C. Kerfoot and A. Sih (eds.). Prédation. Direct and indirect impacts on aquatic communities. 386 pp.Google Scholar
  50. Sudzuki, M., 1957. Studies on the egg-carrying types in Rotifera. II. Genera Brachionus and Keratella. Zool. Mag., Tokyo 66:11–20. (Japanese, with English summary.)Google Scholar
  51. Thane-Fenchel, A., 1968. Distribution and ecology of non-planktonic brackish-water rotifers from Scandinavian waters. Ophelia 5: 273–297.Google Scholar
  52. Tzschaschel, G., 1983. Seasonal abundance of psammon rotifers. Hydrobiologia 104: 275–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Wallace, R., 1980. Ecology of sessile rotifers. Hydrobiologia 73: 181–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Walz, N., 1983. Continuous culture of the pelagic rotifers Keratella cochlearis and Brachionus angularis. Arch. Hydrobiol. 98: 70–92.Google Scholar
  55. Wesenberg-Lund, C, 1930. Contributions to the biology of the Rotifera. II. The periodicity and sexual periods. K. danske vidensk. Selsk., nat.-math. Afd., Raekke 9, Bd 2, no. 1. 230 pp.Google Scholar
  56. Williamson, G, 1983. Invertebrate prédation on planktonic rotifers. Hydrobiologia 104: 385–396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Wulfert, K., 1951. Das Naturschutzgebiet auf dem Glatzer Schneeberg. Die Râdertiere des Naturschutzgebietes. Arch. Hydrobiol. 44: 441–471.Google Scholar
  58. Wulfert, K., 1956. Die Râdertiere des Teufelssees bei Friedrichshagen. Arch. Hydrobiol. 51: 457–495.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Birger Pejler
    • 1
  • Bruno Bērziņš
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of LimnologyUppsalaSweden

Personalised recommendations