Samples of crustacean zooplankton were collected monthly in west-central Lake Erie in April and June to October 1968, and in July and August 1970, before and during periods of hypolimnetic dissolved oxygen (DO) depletion. The water column at offshore stations was thermally stratified from June through September 1968, and the hypolimnion contained no DO in mid-August of 1968 or 1970. Composition, abundance, and vertical distribution of crustacean zooplankton changed coincidentally with oxygen depletion. From July to early August, zooplankton abundance dropped 79% in 1968 and 50% in 1970. The declines were attributed largely to a sharp decrease in abundance of planktonic Cyclops bicuspidatus thomasi. Zooplankton composition shifted from mainly cyclopoid copepods in July to mainly cladocerans and copepod nauplii in middle to late August. We believe that mortality of adults and dormancy of copepodites in response to anoxia was the probable reason for the late summer decline in planktonic C. b. thomasi.
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Abundance, composition, and distribution of crustacean zooplankton in relation to hypolimnetic oxygen depletion in west-central Lake Erie