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Impact of mass mortality of a mosquito fish, Gambusia affinis on the ecology of a fresh water eutrophic lake (Lake Naini Tal, India)



Between 28th March and 4th April, 2000 a fungal infection killed >80% of the most abundant planktivorous fish, Gambusia affinis in Lake Naini Tal, Uttaranchal, India. In response to this mortality, planktonic communities and some eutrophication-related parameters viz., primary productivity, phosphate–phosphorus, nitrate–nitrogen and transparency of the water, were considerably changed. Total zooplankton number more than doubled, phytoplankton number reduced nearly to half, primary production and phosphate-phosphorus was dramatically reduced, while nitrate–nitrogen and water clarity increased. The phytoplankton decline was caused by increased zooplankton grazing (top-down control) rather than phosphorus deficiency (bottom-up control). After 3 months, Gambusia and planktonic communities and nutrient levels reverted back almost to their pre-mortality state. Thus removal of G. affinis could improve water quality of Lake Naini Tal.



HydrobiologiaSpringer Journals

Published: Jan 1, 2002

DOI: 10.1023/A:1015270206187

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