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08.09.2017 | Ausgabe 6/2017

Environmental Management 6/2017

Emergent Macrophytes Support Zooplankton in a Shallow Tropical Lake: A Basis for Wetland Conservation

Zeitschrift:
Environmental Management > Ausgabe 6/2017
Autoren:
Mesfin Gebrehiwot, Demeke Kifle, Ludwig Triest
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (http://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s00267-017-0935-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Abstract

Understanding the biodiversity value of littoral zones of lakes is a priority for aquatic biodiversity conservation. However, less emphasis has been given to the littoral part of tropical African lakes, with many of the previous researches focusing only on the open water side. The aim of the present study was, therefore, to investigate the impact of the littoral zone of a shallow freshwater tropical lake (Ziway, Ethiopia), dominated by two emergent macrophytes, on zooplankton community structure. We hypothesized that the wetland vegetation serves as a preferred microhabitat for zooplankton communities. A lake with substantial coverage of emergent macrophytes was monitored monthly from January to August, 2016. The monitoring included the measurements of physical, chemical, and biological parameters. Sampling sites were selected to represent areas of the macrophyte vegetation (Typha latifolia and Phragmites australis) and the open water part of the lake. Sites with macrophyte vegetation were found to be the home of more dense and diverse zooplankton community. However, during the period of high vegetation loss, the density of crustacean zooplankton showed significant reduction within the patches of macrophytes. From biodiversity conservation perspective, it was concluded that the preservation of such small areas of macrophytes covering the littoral zone of lakes could be as important as protecting the whole lake. However, the rapid degradation of wetland vegetation by human activities is a real threat to the lake ecosystem. In the not-too-far future, it could displace and evict riparian vegetation and the biota it supports.

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