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Large biomass of small feeders: Ciliates may dominate herbivory in eutrophic lakes
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Limnology.
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2016 (English)In: Journal of Plankton Research, ISSN 0142-7873, E-ISSN 1464-3774, Vol. 38, no 1, 2-15 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The importance of ciliates as herbivores and in biogeochemical cycles is increasingly recognized. An opportunity to observe the potential consequences of zooplankton dominated by ciliates arose when winter fish kills resulted in strong suppression of crustaceans by young planktivorous fish in two shallow lakes. On an annual average, ciliates made up 38-76% of the total zooplankton biomass in both lakes during two subsequent years. Consequently, ciliate biomass and their estimated grazing potential were extremely high compared with other lakes of various trophic states and depths. Grazing estimates based on abundance and size suggest that ciliates should have cleared the water column of small (<5 mu m) and intermediate (5-50 mu m) sized phytoplankton more than once a day. Especially, small feeders within the ciliates were important, likely exerting a strong top-down control on small phytoplankton. Particle-attached bacteria were presumably strongly suppressed by intermediate-sized ciliate feeders. In contrast to other lakes, large phytoplankton was proportionately very abundant. The phytoplankton community had a high evenness, which may be attributed to the feeding by numerous fast growing and selective ciliate species. Our study highlights ciliates as an important trophic link and adds to the growing awareness of the role of winter processes for plankton dynamics.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 38, no 1, 2-15 p.
National Category
Natural Sciences Biological Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-264654DOI: 10.1093/plankt/fbv102ISI: 000371229900002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-264654DiVA: diva2:861153
Available from: 2015-10-15 Created: 2015-10-15 Last updated: 2016-05-09Bibliographically approved

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Attermeyer, KatrinScharnweber, Kristin
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