Zooplankton community composition can be influenced by lake productivity as well as planktivory by fish or invertebrates. Previous analyses based on long-term Lake Huron zooplankton data from August reported a shift in community composition between the 1980s and 2000s: proportional biomass of calanoid copepods increased while that of cyclopoid copepods and herbivorous cladocerans decreased. Herein, we used seasonally collected data from Lake Huron in 1983–1984 and 2007 and reported similar shifts in proportional biomass. We also used a series of generalized additive models to explore differences in seasonal abundance by species and found that all three cyclopoid copepod species (Diacyclops thomasi, Mesocylops edax, Tropocyclops prasinus mexicanus) exhibited higher abundance in 1983–1984 than in 2007. Surprisingly, only one (Epischura lacustris) of seven calanoid species exhibited higher abundance in 2007. The results for cladocerans were also mixed with Bosmina spp. exhibiting higher abundance in 1983–1984, while Daphnia galeata mendotae reached a higher level of abundance in 2007. We used a subset of the 2007 data to estimate not only the vertical distribution of Bythotrephes longimanus and their prey, but also the consumption by Bythotrephes in the top 20 m of water. This epilimnetic layer was dominated by copepod copepodites and nauplii, and consumption either exceeded (Hammond Bay site) or equaled 65% (Detour site) of epilimnetic zooplankton production. The lack of spatial overlap between Bythotrephes and herbivorous cladocerans and cyclopoid copepod prey casts doubt on the hypothesis that Bythotrephes planktivory was the primary driver underlying the community composition changes in the 2000s.
Additional publication details
Comparing seasonal dynamics of the Lake Huron zooplankton community between 1983-1984 and 2007 and revisiting the impact of Bythotrephes planktivory