Zooplankton and Trophic State Relationships in Florida Lakes

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Zooplankton, including ciliated protozoans, were collected from 39 Florida lakes of widely ranging trophic state. Annual mean biomass values for different zooplankton groups were regressed against Carlson's Trophic State Index based on annual mean chlorophyll a concentration. Whereas total zooplankton biomass yielded a significant regression with increasing trophic state, microzooplankton (ciliates, rotifers, and nauplii) accounted for more of the relationship than macrozooplankton (cladocera, calanoids, and cyclopoids). Within the microzooplankton, the regression improved with decreasing body size. Macrozooplankton biomass exhibited a weak statistical relationship with lake trophic state, but the different component groups were variable in their response. The dominance within the zooplankton community shifts from macrozooplankton to microzooplankton with increasing trophic state, and the microzooplankton can constitute between 50 and 90% of the total zooplankton biomass in eutrophic lakes. Changes in zooplanktivore community structure with increasing trophic state show that whereas total fish biomass increases, dominance shifts from visually oriented predators, such as bass and bluegill, to pump filter-feeding planktivores, such as gizzard shad (Dorosoma cepedianum). While Florida zooplankton communities are similar in size structure to tropical communities, no statistically significant differences were found between empirical equations of crustacean zooplankton biomass and trophic state determined from temperate and Florida data bases.

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Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, v. 40, issue 10, p. 1813-1819