Inland Waters, Vol 1, No 2 (2011)

Body size versus taxonomy in relating zooplankton to water quality in lakes

Karl Havens, John Beaver
Pages: 107-112


We examined 92 contemporaneous observations of zooplankton and water chemistry data from 6 central Florida lakes to determine whether size structure or taxonomic structure is more strongly associated with water quality. Canonical Correlation Analysis and Redundancy Analysis indicated that, to some degree, size structure can predict water quality and vice versa. However, substantially stronger correlations resulted when using fine-scale (genus- and species-level) taxonomic data because attributes of the community that were correlated with environmental changes involved only particular species within size classes (e.g., one of several small taxa [Chydorus sphaericus] and one of several large taxa [Daphnia lumholtzii]), and these responses could not be detected by only assessing size structure. Size structure of crustacean zooplankton communities is important for fish–zooplankton and zooplankton–algal interactions, but it may not be strongly correlated with water quality, except where there is an extreme pollution gradient.