Analysis of the Community Structure of Planktonic Ciliated Protozoa Relative to Trophic State in Florida Lakes

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Trophic State, Temperate Lake, Oligotrophic Lake, Ciliated Protozoan, Lake Trophic State

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The planktonic ciliate populations of 30 Florida lakes constituting a broad trophic gradient were examined to determine the response of protozoan community structure to increasing eutrophication. Both ciliate abundance and biomass were strongly related to lake trophic state. Comparison of the Florida data base with a comparable north temperate lake group indicated that subtropical lakes generally possess higher ciliate abundance and biomass at a given trophic state than temperate lakes. However the equations derived for each data base were not significantly different. Community diversity and species richness increased with increasing lake productivity. Highly acidic lakes displayed significantly reduced diversity and numbers of species when contrasted with nonacidic oligotrophic lakes. Small-bodied ( < 30 um) ciliates dominated all lakes but were proportionally less important in oligotrophic lakes. Presence-absence data produced three assemblages: an ubiquitous association of primarily small ciliate taxa, a group of large ciliates mainly restricted to eutrophic-hypereutrophic lakes, and a very large ciliate, Stentor niger, which dominated the protozoan communities of acidic oligotrophic lakes.

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Hydrobiologia, v. 174, issue 3, p. 177-184