US Long-Term Ecological Research Network
Crustacean zooplankton species richness: single- and multiple- year estimates
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Richness estimates are dependent on the spatial and temporal extent of the sampling programme and the method used to predict richness. We assessed crustacean zooplankton richness in eight Canadian Shield lakes at different temporal and spatial scales using three methods of estimation: cumulative, asymptotic, and Chao’s index. Percent species detected increased with the number of spatial, intraannual, or interannual samples taken. Single samples detected 50\% of the annual species pool and 33\% of the total estimated species pool. This suggests that previous estimates of zooplankton richness, based on single samples in individual lakes, are too low. Our richness estimates for individual lakes approach the total number of zooplankton found in some regions of Canada, suggesting that each lake has most taxa at some time, the majority being very rare. Single-year richness estimates provided poor predictions of multiple-year richness. The relationship between richness and environmental variables was dependent on the method of estimation and the number of samples used. We conclude that richness should be treated as an index rather than an absolute and sampling efforts should be standardized. We recommend an asymptotic approach to estimate zooplankton richness because the number of samples taken influenced it less.