The predaceous cladoceran Leptodora kindti (Focke) became established in Third Sister Lake, Michigan, after individuals escaped from experimental enclosures in 1987. By 1988, the Leptodora population exhibited seasonal dynamics characteristic of natural populations. The maximum seasonal abundance of Leptodora increased to 85 individuals m-3 3 yr following the introduction. After the appearance of Leptodora, small-bodied cladocerans (Ceriodaphnia and Bosmina) virtually disappeared from the lake. There were strong seasonal shifts in the dominance patterns of both cladocerans and copepods, and Daphnia species diversity increased. Results from this unplanned introduction suggest that invertebrate predators can have a rapid and lasting effect on prey populations, even in the presence of planktivorous fish. Small-scale (<20 km) geographic barriers might be as important as large-scale barriers to dispersal of planktonic animals.
Additional publication details
Changes to zooplankton community structure following colonization of a small lake by Leptodora kindti