Plankton rotifers from a tropical lake: differences in distribution and migration patterns in two mixing events, with similar abiotic conditions.

Sandra A. Zanatta, Roberto B. Torres-Orozco, J. Alejandro Zavala-Hurtado, Marco A. Pérez-Hernández


Vertical distribution of plankton rotifers is not random. Although the causes of this behavior are still under debate, it has been suggested, mainly from the study of stratified environments, that abiotic parameters play an important role in determining the presence and position of a species in the water column. We compared the composition and vertical distribution of planktonic rotifers in a tropical monomictic lake in Mexico during the mixing period of two years in which abiotic conditions were similar. We recorded 28 rotifer species. Total average densities ranged from 238±39 ind l-1 to 517±97 ind l-1. The similarity of rotifer assemblages between the two compared dates was 46.4%. Our results showed that temperature and dissolved oxygen in the upper 13 meters and pH upper 8 meters, respectively, were homogeneous in the two dates. Nevertheless, the rotifer assemblages showed important differences in: a) the absolute population densities, b) the dominance ranking of species in the community, c) the preferential position of a specific species in the water column, d) the relationship between such preference and the studied abiotic factors and, e) the types and amplitudes of species’ migrations. Given the resemblance of the abiotic factors in the analyzed years, we suggest that changes in rotifers distribution and abundance would involve biological factors, such as food availability, competition and predation. .

Palabras clave

abiotic factors; diel vertical migration; distribution and abundance; freshwater zooplankton; Mexico.

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