Effects of Grazer Community Composition and Fish on Algal Dynamics

  • Turner A
  • Mittelbach G
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Abstract

We examined the effects of grazer community composition and fish on phytoplankton abundance by manipulating zooplankton community structure and the intensity of planktivory in a factorial experiment. Enclosures (1700-L bags) were treated with fish (present/absent) and two grazer communities (one a large-bodied community dominated by Daphnia and the other a small-bodied community dominated by Ceriodaphnia) in a 2 x 2 factorial design. We sampled zooplankton and algae every 4-8 d during the 5-wk experiment. Algal biovolume, chlorophyll a, total particulates, and light extinction were all significantly higher in the presence of fish. Further, the effect of fish on algal standing crop did not depend on which grazer assemblage was initially present. Fish enhanced algal standing crop to the same degree in both Daphnia and Ceriodaphnia treatments. We discuss these results in light of patterns reported in the literature, and the nature of size-structured interactions among fish, zooplankton, and algae.

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Authors

  • Andrew M. Turner

  • Gary G. Mittelbach

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