We sampled zooplankton and benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages in 30 shallow natural lakes to determine the effects of the environment (i.e., habitat and fish abundance) on invertebrates. Zooplankters were identified to genus, and up to 120 individuals per genus were measured. Macroinvertebrates were identified to order, class, or family. Fish communities were also sampled. Relative abundances of zooplankton and macroinvertebrates were low at increased chlorophyll a concentrations, although mean zooplankton length increased with total phosphorus, possibly because of an increased proportion of microzooplankton (rotifers and copepod nauplii) at higher phosphorus levels. Canonical correspondence analysis revealed that zooplankton and macroinvertebrate abundance was influenced by submersed vegetation coverage, whereas zooplankton abundance and size structure were also related to productivity (i.e., chlorophyll a and total phosphorus). However, relative abundance of fish species or fish feeding guilds was not strongly correlated with zooplankton or macroinvertebrate abundance or zooplankton size structure. Physical habitat (e.g., vegetation coverage) may exert substantial influences on invertebrate assemblages in these lakes, possibly providing a refuge from fish predation.
Additional publication details
Aquatic Invertebrate Assemblages in Shallow Prairie Lakes: Fish and Environmental Influences