Major contribution from littoral crustaceans to zooplankton species richness in lakes

Walseng, Bjørn, Dag O. Hessen, Gunnar Halvorsen, Ann Kristin Schartau

Limnol. Oceanogr., 51(6), 2006, 2600-2606 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2006.51.6.2600

ABSTRACT: A study of pelagic and littoral species richness among microcrustaceans in 2,466 Norwegian lakes recorded 120 crustacean species: 77 cladocerans, 31 cyclopoids, and 12 calanoids, respectively. Very few species were strictly pelagic, and the pelagic crustacean zooplankton species were by far outnumbered by their littoral counterparts. More than two-thirds of the total crustacean species numbers in lakes were accounted for by species with a littoral preference. A considerable number of species occurred with low frequency, and the median total number of crustacean species in the lakes was only 14. A majority of littoral species also occurred commonly in pelagic samples, and vice versa. Some species are truly both littoral and pelagic, and nearly all species occurring in pelagic samples were also common in littoral samples. A high proportion of the common littoral species was only recorded occasionally in pelagic samples, and should thus be considered strictly littoral. There was no significant correlation between lake area and species richness for pelagic or littoral species. Our findings demonstrate the importance of including littoral species when assessing microcrustacean diversity in lakes, and we question the practice of considering species as either pelagic or littoral, because a majority of the recorded species was common in both habitats. It calls for a further discussion of the term "planktonic", since most of the species are at least partly "semiplanktonic."

Article Links

Please Note