Studies on the zooplankton of the deep subalpine Lake Garda.

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Nico SALMASO *
Luigi NASELLI-FLORES
(*) Corresponding Author:
Nico SALMASO | salmaso@civ.bio.unipd.it

Abstract

The specific composition and seasonal dynamics of the zooplankton of Lake Garda have been studied through monthly surveys in two annual cycles (December 1994-November 1995 and January-December 1997). The assemblage is largely dominated by Copipodiaptomus steueri, a typical calanoid presently identified in deep (Garda, Iseo) and shallow lakes of NE Italy and in the hinterland of the central Adriatic region (Dalmatia and Marche Region). Cladocerans and the smaller rotifers represent a significant component of the zooplankton from spring to autumn. A re-examination of the results obtained in previous studies does not seem to demonstrate substantial shifts in the composition of the dominant species. The only documentable and consolidated differences are constituted by the disappearance of Sida crystallina since the '50s and the appearance of new rotifers since the '70s and the '80s. It is stressed that, owing to the fragmentation of the available studies and the use of different methodologies, the qualitative and quantitative modifications of the zooplankton should be interpreted with special caution, requiring further in-depth and continuous monitoring for the meaning they could have as possible signs of modifications of the trophic structure of the lake. However, the results of the comparison of the different investigations do not seem to contrast with the substantial stability of the oligo-mesotrophic character of the lake formally documented since the '70s.

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