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Size-based diel migration of zooplankton in Mediterranean shallow lakes assessed from in situ experiments with artificial plants

2015-07-01
Tavsanoglu, Ulku Nihan
Brucet, Sandra
Levi, Eti Ester
Bucak, Tuba
Bezirci, Gizem
Ozen, Arda
Johansson, Liselotte S.
Jeppesen, Erik
Beklioğlu, Meryem
In warm lakes, fish aggregate within macrophytes, thereby weakening the role of these as a daytime refuge for zooplankton and altering the zooplankton size structure, predation pressure, and water clarity. To elucidate the role of macrophytes as a refuge for zooplankton and their effect on zooplankton size distribution, we established three sets of strandardized artificial plant beds in 11 lakes in Turkey with contrasting fish predation risk and turbidity. Zooplankton were sampled within and outside of each plant beds during day and night. Fish, collected overnight in multimesh-sized gillnets, were abundant both inside and outside the artificial plant beds, impoverishing the usefulness of plants as a daytime refuge for particularly large-bodied zooplankton. Zooplankton size diversity was negatively related to fish abundance. Diel vertical migration was the frequent anti-predator avoidance behavior, but reverse migration was also observed when Chaoborus was present. In contrast to the small-bodied taxa, large- and medium-sized taxa showed intraspecific size-based migration (i.e., individuals of different sizes had different migration patterns). Predators influenced the size structure and diel movement of zooplankton, but the response changed with the size of zooplankton and water clarity.