AbstractLake eutrophication often results in the dominance of cyanobacteria, which are generally regarded as an unsuitable food source for zooplankton, though this is still under debate. Here we tested whether small sestonic particles are the dominant component of the diet of zooplankton during periods of cyanobacterial dominance. For this, the contribution of seston fractions (<20 µm and ≥20 < 100 µm) to zooplankton diets was assessed at the species level in a highly eutrophic tropical reservoir in Ethiopia using dual isotope (δ15N and δ13C) SIAR and MixSIAR models. Posterior area estimates of both consumer species and potential food sources were also modeled. Results of the two models indicated that the general diet of the zooplankton was composed primarily of small seston particles. Analysis of isotopic niche breadth of the two major crustacean zooplankton species, Ceriodaphnia cornuta and Thermocyclops decipiens, indicated that it was generally larger for the former species indicating consumption of a different prey and/or change in feeding strategy of both species. Overall, our field study indicates that under cyanobacterial dominance, zooplankton feed on small seston particles and that grazing on colonial or filamentous cyanobacteria seems not to be a generalized pattern in tropical freshwater reservoirs.
Journal of Plankton Research – Oxford University Press
Published: Mar 1, 2017
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