Zooplankton assemblages and water quality were examined bi-weekly from 17 April to 19 October 1998 in 11 northeastern Lake Michigan coastal lakes of similar origin but varied in trophic status and limnological condition. All lakes were within or adjacent to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan. Zooplankton (principally microcrustaceans and rotifers) from triplicate Wisconsin net (80 I?m) vertical tows taken at each lake's deepest location were analyzed. Oxygen-temperature-pH-specific conductivity profiles and surface water quality were concurrently measured. Bray-Curtis similarity analysis showed small variations among sample replicates but large temporal differences. The potential use of zooplankton communities for environmental lake comparisons was evaluated by means of BIOENV (Primer 5.1) and principal component analyses. Zooplankton analyzed at the lowest identified taxonomic level yielded greatest sensitivity to limnological variation. Taxonomic and ecological aggregations of zooplankton data performed comparably, but less well than the finest taxonomic analysis. Secchi depth, chlorophyll a, and sulfate concentrations combined to give the best correlation with patterns of variation in the zooplankton data set. Principal component analysis of these variables revealed trophic status as the most influential major limnological gradient among the study lakes. Overall, zooplankton abundance was an excellent indicator of variation in trophic status.
Additional publication details
Characterization of Lake Michigan coastal lakes using zooplankton assemblages