Ten high-mountain ponds in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State, were studied from ice-out in June through September1992 to investigate the influences of fluctuating pond volumes on zooplankton communities. All of the ponds were at maximum volume immediately after ice-out. The temporary pond with the shortest wet phase was inhabited by rotifer taxa with short generation times and a crustacean taxon with the ability to encyst as drought-resistant resting bodies at immature stages of development. Dominant zooplankton taxa in three other temporary ponds and six permanent ponds were similar. Rotifer densities typically were lower in temporary ponds relative to those in permanent ponds, although Brachionus urceolaris was abundant shortly before the temporary ponds dried. Large volume loss was associated with large declines in total abundances of crustacean populations. Daphnia rosea was not present in temporary ponds following fall recharge. In deep-permanent ponds, copepods had slower developmental rates, smaller temporal changes in total abundances of crustacean populations and two additional large-bodied crustacean taxa were present relative to the characteristics of crustacean communities in shallow-permanent ponds. Owing to their small sizes and sensitivity to environmental change, collectively ponds such as these may provide an early signal of long-term climate change in aquatic systems.
Additional publication details
Effects of hydrology on zooplankton communities in high-mountain ponds, Mount Rainier National Park, USA