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Effect of an invasive filter-feeder on the zooplankton assemblage in a coastal lagoon

  • Martin Bruschetti (a1) (a2), Tomas Luppi (a1) (a2) and Oscar Iribarne (a1) (a2)

Abstract

Depletion of phytoplankton biomass by the introduced reef-forming polychaete Ficopomatus enigmaticus has previously been observed in the Mar Chiquita lagoon (37°40′S 57°23′W; Argentina), but the effect of polychaetes on the higher trophic levels is still unknown. To evaluate the effect of this polychaete on the zooplankton assemblage, replicated mesocosm experiments (N = 10) were performed during spring, summer and winter. Mesocosms with reefs and without reefs were installed and grazing intensity and the effect on the zooplankton assemblage by the polychaetes were assessed. Our results show that the reefs of F. enigmaticus generate minor changes in overall composition of zooplankton assemblage. Although the structure of the zooplankton assemblage was different between seasons, the impact of the reefs was not significant in any of them. There was no relationship between the decline of food resource by grazing and changes in the structure of the zooplankton assemblage. Thus, contrary to our hypothesis, the grazing impact of the invasive polychaete on the biomass of primary producers did not generate cascading effects to higher trophic levels. However, changes in some components of the zooplankton assemblage (e.g. cladocerans) clearly show that the reefs of F. enigmaticus have the potential to affect the structure of the zooplankton community. The lack of data of community composition and abundance of zooplankton before the invasion limits the understanding of how this polychaete might have affected the structure and abundance of the zooplankton of this lagoon. Nevertheless this work suggests that these changes may not be so significant.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: M. Bruschetti, Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras (IIMyC), Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata - CONICET. CC 573 Correo Central. B7600WAG, Mar del Plata, Argentina. email: mbrusche@mdp.edu.ar

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Keywords

Effect of an invasive filter-feeder on the zooplankton assemblage in a coastal lagoon

  • Martin Bruschetti (a1) (a2), Tomas Luppi (a1) (a2) and Oscar Iribarne (a1) (a2)

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