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Composition, abundance and biomass of zooplankton in Orinoco floodplain lakes, Venezuela

  • E. Vásquez (a1) and J. Rey (a2)

Abstract

Zooplankton samples were collected over a 21-month period in five floodplain lakes of the Orinoco River in order to establish zooplankton species composition, abundance patterns, and biomass and their relationships with the patterns of inundations and lake morphometry. 60 rotifer taxa were identified. This group was generally more abundant than copepods and cladocerans (mean : 73,4 % of total zooplankton). Common and abundant rotifer species included K. americana, K. cochlearis, B. mirus, B. gessneri, P. vulgaris and F. longiseta. Copepods were dominated by nauplii (mean : 73,8 % of total copepod stages). Cladocerans were scarce and dominated by M. minuta, C. cornuta and D. spinulosum. Most frequent and abundant zooplankton species were euplanktonic with a dominance of filter feeders and microphagous detritivores. Mean zooplankton density in all lakes ranged from 340 ind./l to 3 486 ind./l. Biomass ranged from 71,1 µg.l (dw) to 432,8 µg/l. Rotifers accounted for 64,7 % of the total mean zooplankton biomass in three lakes while copepods accounted for 57,8 % of the biomass in two lakes. Both density and biomass were markedly seasonal with highest mean values at low waters. Mean density in the lakes was 100 times higher than in the Orinoco main stem. Lakes with highest variabilities in surface area and water depths showed highest zooplankton densities. The type of connection (direct or indirect) established between the lakes and the major source of the water also seemed important to interpret the productivity of floodplain lakes.

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Composition, abundance and biomass of zooplankton in Orinoco floodplain lakes, Venezuela

  • E. Vásquez (a1) and J. Rey (a2)

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