Ecological Seasonal Cycles in a Colorado Mountain Pond

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Abstract

A permanent pond at 3100 meters elevation was studied for an entire year to monitor zooplankton populations as they changed seasonally and associate those changes with biotic and abiotic factors. Conductivity, alkalinity, and dissolved solids were low during the summer but increased dramatically in the winter due to “freezing out.” Chlorophyll measurements indicated that phytoplankton reached its population maximum during the winter. The summer zooplankton community was dominated by the cladocerans, Holopedium gibberum and Daphnia rosea; the copepod, Diaptomus leptopus; the rotifers, Keratella cochlearis, Conochilus unicornis, and Polyarthra dolichoptera; and Chaoborus larvae. D. rosea disappeared from the plankton in August, possibly due to a combination of predation and competition. All limnetic Crustacea disappeared during ice cover, leaving rotifers as the most successful winter plankters. The posterior spine of K. cochlearis was long in the summer, and short or absent in the winter. This seasonal change in morphology may be a means of reducing mortality due to predation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-237
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Freshwater Ecology
Volume2
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1983
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science

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