US Long-Term Ecological Research Network
Zooplankton community responses during recovery from acidification in Little Rock Lake, Wisconsin
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Follow-up studies after whole-ecosystem-stress experiments can provide important insights into the recovery process itself and into basic ecosystem properties. We report here on zooplankton community recovery during the first 5 years following the experimental acidification of Little Rock Lake, Wisconsin, U.S.A. Acidity in the lake’s treatment basin returned quickly to near pre-manipulation levels. Zooplankton population shifts, however, did not support our hypothesis that species that had increased in abundance with acidification would persist and resist the return of the pre-manipulation community. The three species that had proliferated most dramatically under low pH conditions—Daphnia catawba, Tropocyclops extensus, and Keratella taurocephala, returned close to their originally low, pre-acidification population levels during the early stages of acid recovery. Some species that had been reduced during low pH conditions, such as Diaptomus minutus and Daphnia dubia, did not recover to pre-manipulation levels. Overall, the zooplankton community in the treatment basin exhibits little similarity to that in the reference basin, a condition quite different from that which had occurred prior to the imposition of acid stress.