Eutrophication and warming effects on long-term variation of zooplankton in Lake Biwa
Abstract. We compiled and analyzed long-term (1961–2005) zooplankton community data in response to environmental variations in Lake Biwa. Environmental data indicate that Lake Biwa had experienced eutrophication (according to the total phosphorus concentration) in the late 1960s and recovered to a normal trophic status around 1985, and then has exhibited warming since 1990. Total zooplankton abundance showed a significant correlation with total phytoplankton biomass. Following a classic pattern, the cladoceran/calanoid and cyclopoid/calanoid abundance ratio was related positively to eutrophication. The zooplankton community exhibited a significant response to the boom and bust of phytoplankton biomass as a consequence of eutrophication-reoligotriphication and warming. Moreover, our analyses suggest that the Lake Biwa ecosystem exhibited a hierarchical response across trophic levels; that is, higher trophic levels may show a more delayed response or no response to eutrophication than lower ones.
We tested the hypothesis that the phytoplankton community can better explain the variation of the zooplankton community than bulk environmental variables, considering that the phytoplankton community may directly affect the zooplankton succession through predator-prey interactions. Using a variance partition approach, however, we did not find strong evidence to support this hypothesis. We further aggregated zooplankton according to their feeding types (herbivorous, carnivorous, omnivorous, and parasitic) and taxonomic groups, and analyzed the aggregated data. While the pattern remains similar, the results are less clear comparing the results based on finely resolved data. Our research suggests that zooplankton can be bio-indicators of environmental changes; however, the efficacy depends on data resolution.